International Day for Countering Hate Speech

Today in Parliament, Abigail gave notice of a motion calling on the NSW Government to address the root causes of hate speech, support educators teaching about diverse backgrounds, and combat those who unjustly weaponise it.

Abigail said:

I give notice that on the next sitting day I will move:

(1)     That this House notes that:

  • Tuesday 18 June 2024 is International Day for Countering Hate Speech, a day created to act as a call to action for governments to increase their efforts in identifying, addressing and countering hate speech,
  • the United Nations defines hate speech as communication that attacks or targets a person or group on the basis of who they are which can take many forms including but not limited to racism, xenophobia, ageism, sexism, ableism, Islamophobia, antisemitism, homophobia and transphobia,
  • the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization states that hate speech is used online and in person to target and dehumanise entire populations, and is often enabled and perpetuated by actors seeking political gain who actively allow atrocities to be committed against these populations,
  • it is vital to differentiate between free speech and hate speech and recognise that:
    • when free speech incites violence, hostility or discrimination against a group of people, it is hate speech, and
    • when an individual or group expresses a view one disagrees with without inciting harmful behaviors, one cannot claim it as hate speech. Doing so directly harms those across the world who are actually dehumanised and harmed, particularly minority and oppressed groups of people.

(2)     That this House affirms that:

  • the best way to combat hate speech is through governments and world leaders leading by example in calling out and eliminating hate speech where it occurs, and through educating citizens on information literacy, unequal power dynamics, debunking stereotypes and recognising historical prejudice, and
  • we must support our teachers and education systems in educating children from early childhood to higher education on how to be accepting and tolerant of people from all places and backgrounds.

(3)     That this House calls on the NSW Government to address the root causes of hate speech by supporting effective responses to this issue including educating our citizens on discriminatory behaviors, developing reporting mechanisms at all levels of government, supporting teachers and other individuals who try to teach about people of all backgrounds, and combating both those who use hate speech and those who unjustly weaponise it.

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