2020: A year to act against hate speech and incitement

Dear GAAMAC community,

We wish you all a great start to the year 2020!  

In 2019, new partners representing States, civil society and academia enlarged the GAAMAC community of commitment.

2020 will be an exciting year for GAAMAC with the launch of a new virtual platform and GAAMAC IV taking place from 17 to 19 November in the Hague.

The fourth global GAAMAC meeting convened by the Steering Group will address hate speech, incitement and discrimination. It will be the opportunity to better understand this crucial issue, share good practices and jointly learn from experiences on the ground to strengthen national mechanisms. 

“In recent decades, hate speech has been a precursor to atrocity crimes, including genocide, from Rwanda to Bosnia to Cambodia. I fear that the world is reaching another acute moment in battling the demon of hate.” - UN Secretary-General António Guterres

History has shown, in Rwanda or during the Holocaust, that atrocities start with hate speech and incitement to discrimination, hostility and violence. Today, hate speech is on the rise around the world facilitated by new technologies and social media platforms.

Individuals and groups may be driven towards violence by the spreading of hate speech online, while political leaders in some countries are adopting and mainstreaming hate-fuelled rhetoric in public discourses. Hate speech is a serious indicator along the path that leads towards atrocities: when addressed early enough through pertinent prevention policy, it is possible to stop it. 

Many members of the GAAMAC community address hate speech, incitement and discrimination in their atrocity prevention work at national and international levels. This newsletter presents the latest updates and activities of the GAAMAC network and beyond in relation to this issue. 



Hate speech a priority on UN agenda

On 18 June 2019, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres launched the United Nations Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech and on 24 September, 26 UN mandate holders published a Joint Letter on concerns about the global increase in hate speech.


OSCE reports on hate speech

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) publishes multiple reports related to hate speech.

The High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM) which works to identify and seek early resolution of ethnic tensions within the OSCE region also publishes reports on hate speech, such as the Tallinn Guidelines on National Minorities and the Media in the Digital Age. His office also organizes the Max Van der Stoel Award with the Government of the Netherlands. In 2020, the award ceremony will take place prior to GAAMAC IV in the Hague.   

More recently, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) published its 2018 hate crime dataset.

Asia Pacific report on hate speech in the works

On 29 January 2020, the GAAMAC Asia Pacific Study Group, formed at GAAMAC III, met in Bangkok, Thailand to workshop a draft report on preventing hate speech, incitement, and discrimination. The final report will be presented at GAAMAC IV.

New publication on hate speech in Europe

Protection Approaches has recently published a report on the state of prevention of identity-based violence in Europe, drawing on the input of over 100 organisations based in Europe and around the world.

GCR2P held two events on hate speech in 2019

The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (GCR2P) co-hosted an event entitled ‘R2P and Hate Speech’ on 26 June 2019 with the Delegation of the European Union to the UN. On 26 September 2019, GCR2P also hosted an event on protecting the freedoms of expression and belief while countering hate speech.

More resources on hate speech

Report of the European Commission
against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)

Council of Europe (CoE) report on Hate crime, hate speech and discrimination in Georgia: attitudes and awareness

OSCE Manual on Joint Hate Crime Training for Police and Prosecutors

Press statement of The Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) on the theme “Prevention of the ideology of hate, genocide and hate crimes in Africa”.


Social media and conflict in Iraq and Democratic Republic of Congo

To address a gap in efforts to combat hate speech and to mitigate its effect on communities in conflict, PeaceTech Lab regularly publishes hate speech lexicons. They most recently published reports on social media and conflict in Iraq and in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Hate speech project in Pakistan

GAAMAC partner Youth Association for Development (YAD) completed different projects on hate speech, including a report on the understanding, analysis and identification of dangerous speech in Baluchistan, Pakistan.  

Addressing the weaponization of social media

GAAMAC partner the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS) launched in 2014 The Digital Mass Atrocity Prevention Lab to address the growing threat posed by the weaponization of social media to demonize vulnerable human groups, foment radical ideologies, and cultivate environments ripe for atrocity crimes.

The Sentinel Project’s Hatebase

The Sentinel Project which works with at-risk communities and technology to prevent atrocities, launched the world’s largest multilingual database of online hate speech: Hatebase.


The GAAMAC Steering Group warmly welcomes our newest partners. Armenia is the second State to join GAAMAC as a partner and more will be announced soon. 

Republic of Armenia

As a country representing a nation that has survived genocide, Armenia is engaged to level up international cooperation, international efforts to strengthen prevention against mass atrocity crimes. Armenia works within the framework of the United Nations and with its numerous partners to raise awareness of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, as well as about the continuous threats and challenges related to hate crimes. Armenia is also working towards developing legal and institutional capacities for the prevention of these crimes.


Hate speech in Asia: Challenges and Solutions

8-10 July 2020 | Bangkok, Thailand

More information


Jelena Pia-Comella (middle right) is the Managing Coordinator of the SO since December 2019. Anne-Laure Jollivet (middle left) was promoted to Administrative and Finances Manager. Sabrina Thalmann (right), Communications Officer and Elena Müller (left), Coordination Officer joined the GAAMAC team in January 2020.  


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