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President Hage Geingob says that hate speech fuels extremist views and is a cause of great concern, which has seen a growing trend of extremism worldwide.

Geingob made these remarks at the global ministerial conference on the role of education in addressing and building resilience against hate speech held virtually on Tuesday, 26 October.

“This trend poses a great danger to our efforts of promoting multilateralism, cooperation and seeking peaceful solutions to conflict. Hate speech plants the seeds of disunity, hatred and intolerance, leading to breaking down the fabric of basic human values,” said the President.

Geingob was also the co-host of the conference. He said that hate speech is a catalyst for exclusivity and a direct threat to the shared values of caring, solidarity and compassion.

“We believe that it is in unity that our strength lies, and it is in pursuing policies of inclusion that we will build robust processes, systems and institutions that will imbue trust, confidence and cooperation in our efforts of building peaceful, prosperous and inclusive societies. Hate has no place in society. It distracts from the inherent human capacity to show compassion and uplift the human spirit.”

Geingob further argued that the COVID-19 pandemic has also amplified existing global concerns about the spread and use of hate speech.

According to the President, the pandemic has created new vulnerable groups targeted by hate speech. The President, however, did not offer the context in which these groups have been targeted.

“We must ensure that education and training, especially at schools, including via online platforms, also addresses COVID-19 related hate speech, disinformation and misinformation by encouraging critical thinking, social and emotional skills and responsible engagement through global citizenship education and human rights education.”

Julia Heita

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