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Event reflections on international approaches to countering religious hate while upholding fundamental freedoms

2024, April 25th|INVOLVEMENT, NEWS|

On 24 April 2024, the Geneva Centre jointly with the Sikh Human Rights Group had the pleasure of hosting a remote event on countering religious hatred for what was an incredibly engaging round of reflections centred on international approaches to countering religious hate while upholding fundamental freedoms. Given the gravely dehumanizing character of religious hatred and that tensions on this front are sadly on the rise, this panel event could not have been more timely.

The eminent table of panellists delved into the challenges our societies face, discussing how education and policies need to evolve to move from dialogue to community actions and projects. Panellists highlighted the need of bringing together religious actors, educators and the media to act jointly and swiftly. Empowering knowledge and education to defuse political manipulation is also key, as well as investing in religious literacy to foster genuine listening and peer-to-peer dialogue.

Furthermore, the so-called “Rabat threshold” conceived for helping law enforcement authorities navigate the fine line between free speech and hate speech remains largely unknown. Public denunciation and prevention of religious instrumentalization should be at the centre of any policy, along with a heightened responsibility of political and religious leaders in these fields. From the rich debates it further emerged the duty to develop remedial speech and the key role played by the media and media literacy.

The panel acknowledged the imperative need to widen the faith-based civil society space through supportive, multistakeholder policies that have the potential of truly contributing to the shaping of tolerant and pluralistic societies.

The Geneva Centre stands very keen to work more closely with key stakeholders such as faith-based organizations, OHCHR and the European Union to explore new approaches to youth and institutional engagement in genuine interfaith dialogue.

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