24 September 2019

In Message to Group Tackling Hate Speech, Secretary-General Affirms United Nations Support for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex Rights

Following is UN Secretary‑General António Guterres’ message to the United Nations Core Group meeting on “Ending Hate Speech against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender People in Social and Traditional Media — Freedom of Speech vs. License to Hate”, in New York today:

Thank you for coming together to defend human rights for all.  Everyone, regardless of who they are and whom they love, has the right to dignity and respect.

Hate speech is often used to dehumanize already marginalized groups and individuals, exacerbating discrimination and inciting violence.  It is an attack on the very essence of human rights and an affront to us all.

Hatred against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community is perpetrated by people of all kinds, including religious and political leaders, and amplified through both traditional and social media.  Too often, there is no real protection.  On the contrary; in many places lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people face prosecution and punishment for their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Social media platforms and algorithms that amplify opinions often facilitate the spread of hate speech.  But these same tools can be used to monitor the rise of such discourse and build support for inclusion and diversity.

That is why I launched the United Nations Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech earlier this year.  So long as people face discrimination and violence because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, the United Nations will stand up for their rights.

I look forward to working with everyone involved, including Member States, the private sector and civil society, to foster a culture of respect, diversity and dignity for all.

In this spirit, I welcome this annual meeting as an opportunity to share experiences, identify good practices and collectively address challenges.  The United Nations stands with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community as we work to create a just and equal world for all.

For information media. Not an official record.