Lostisland submitted an input to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief in response to the call for inputs titled “Advocacy of Hatred Based on Religion or Belief – Transformative Responses”. The purpose of the call for input was to inform the Special Rapporteur’s thematic report to be delivered to the 55th session of the UN Human Rights Council.
The Urgency of Addressing Advocacy of Hatred Based on Religion or Belief
Advocacy of hatred based on religion or belief is a pervasive and harmful phenomenon that can have devastating consequences for individuals and communities. It can lead to discrimination, violence, and other human rights abuses, undermining social cohesion and eroding the foundations of peaceful societies.
Key Insights from Lostisland’s Input
Lostisland’s input highlights several critical aspects of advocacy of hatred based on religion or belief:
- The Lack of a Universal Definition: Despite its widespread prevalence, advocacy of hatred based on religion or belief lacks a universally accepted definition in legal and policy frameworks. This lack of clarity can hinder effective identification and prevention of this harmful practice.
- The Link to Prejudice against Religious Minorities: Advocacy of hatred based on religion or belief often stems from deep-seated prejudices against religious minorities. Addressing these prejudices is crucial for preventing the escalation of hatred and violence.
- The Role of State Actors: State actors play a pivotal role in fostering a just and inclusive society by monitoring and addressing prejudicial attitudes within their institutions and among law enforcement officials.
- The Multifaceted Consequences of Hatred: The consequences of advocacy of hatred based on religion or belief are far-reaching and can include fear, anxiety, isolation, discrimination, violence, and systemic disadvantage.
- The Intersectional Nature of Hatred: Hatred based on religion or belief often intersects with other forms of discrimination, such as racism, sexism, or homophobia, compounding the negative impacts on individuals and communities.
- The Diverse Manifestations of Hatred: Advocacy of hatred based on religion or belief can take various forms, including online and offline harassment, hate speech, and violence. It can be associated with specific actors, times, forms, and objects.
- The Need for a Multifaceted Approach: Countering advocacy of hatred based on religion or belief requires a comprehensive approach that involves state actors, civil society organizations, and international institutions.
- The Vital Role of Religious and Belief Actors: Religious and belief leaders and communities have a significant role to play in promoting tolerance, understanding, and respect for diverse beliefs.
- The Importance of Evidence-Based Policymaking: Monitoring and documenting instances of hatred, intolerance, and discrimination based on religion or belief are essential for crafting effective policies and interventions.
- The Scope of Legislative and Public Policy Responses: Legislative initiatives and public policies aimed at countering hatred, intolerance, and discrimination should encompass education, media engagement, mediation, and interfaith dialogue.
- Addressing Structural and Systematic Roots of Hatred: Understanding the structural and systematic factors that underpin advocacy of hatred is crucial for long-term transformation.
- Mandating Responses to Hatred and Supporting Its Targets: Institutions, mechanisms, and actors must be mandated to effectively respond to the advocacy of hatred and provide support to its targets.
- Varied Effectiveness of UN Tools: The effectiveness of existing UN tools to counter hatred varies among stakeholders, highlighting the need for continuous evaluation and improvement.
- An Inclusive Understanding of Freedom of Religion or Belief: All laws, policies, initiatives, and efforts in this arena should be firmly rooted in an inclusive understanding of freedom of religion or belief for all.
- The Essential Role of Civil Society: Civil society-led initiatives play a crucial role in the global effort to counter the advocacy of hatred based on religion or belief.
Recommendations for Action
In light of these insights, Lostisland’s input called for the following actions to address advocacy of hatred based on religion or belief:
- Enact and Enforce Laws: States should enact and enforce comprehensive laws that specifically prohibit advocacy of hatred based on religion or belief.
- Provide Prejudice Awareness Training: States should provide training for law enforcement and justice operators on how to identify and address prejudice against religious minorities.
- Support Civil Society Efforts: States should provide financial and programmatic support to civil society organizations that are working to counter hatred based on religion or belief.
- Enhance International Cooperation: International organizations should provide resources and technical assistance to states and civil society organizations that are working to counter hatred based on religion or belief.
- Promote Inclusive Understanding of Freedom of Religion or Belief: International organizations and states should promote an inclusive understanding of freedom of religion or belief that encompasses the right to freedom from hatred based on religion or belief.
- By implementing these recommendations, we can collectively work towards a world where individuals and communities can live in harmony and peace, free from the harmful effects of advocacy of hatred based on religion or belief.