UNITED NATIONS, April 14 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday warned against hate speech in reflection of the 1994 Rwanda genocide.
"A generation since the genocide, we must never forget the dangers posed by the fragility of civility in all societies. Hate speech is an alarm bell. The louder it rings, the greater the threat of genocide," Guterres told an event to commemorate the International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda.
Hate speech precedes and promotes violence. The hate and propaganda that paved the path to genocide in Rwanda was broadcast on TV, printed in newspapers, and blasted over radio, he noted.
He warned that the megaphones of hate are even bigger today.
Across the internet, incitement to violence, vicious lies and conspiracies, genocide denial and distortion, the demonization of the other proliferate with little to no checks, he said, calling for stronger guardrails, clearer responsibilities, and greater transparency in the digital world.
Preventing genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and other serious violations of international law is a shared responsibility. Upholding the responsibility to protect, ensuring accountability, and achieving justice are core duties of every member of the United Nations, said Guterres.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, he noted. "Today, I call on all (UN) member states to become parties to the Genocide Convention without delay. And I call on all states to back their commitments with action."
"Together, let us stand firm against rising intolerance. Let us be ever vigilant and always ready to act. And let us truly honor the memory of all Rwandans who perished by building a future of dignity, security, justice, and human rights for all," he said.
The International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda falls on April 7. ■