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Rabat Plan of Action on the prohibition of advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence

The Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief actively participated in OHCHR’s Expert workshops on the prohibition of incitement to national, racial or religious hatred, which led to the adoption of the Rabat Plan of Action on the prohibition of advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.

In 2011, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) organized a series of expert workshops, in the various regions of the world, on incitement to national, racial or religious hatred, as reflected in international human rights law. During the workshops, participants looked at the situation in the different regions and discussed strategic responses to incitement to hatred, both non-legal and legal in nature.

The events took place in Europe (Vienna, 9 and 10 February 2011), in Africa (Nairobi, 6 and 7 April 2011), in Asia and the Pacific (Bangkok, 6 and 7 July 2011), and in the Americas (Santiago de Chile, 12 and 13 October 2011).2 In doing so, OHCHR aimed to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the implementation of legislation, jurisprudence and policies regarding advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence at the national and regional levels, while encouraging full respect for freedom of expression as protected by international human rights law. This activity focused on the relationship between freedom of expression and hate speech, especially in relation to religious issues – a matter that has unfortunately come increasingly under focus and created friction and violence among and within diverse communities.

The expert workshops in 2011 have generated a wealth of information as well as a large number of practical suggestions for better implementation of the relevant international human rights standards. To take stock of the rich results of the 2011 series of workshops, OHCHR convened in 2012 a final expert workshop (in Rabat, 4 and 5 October 2012) to produce a comparative analysis of the findings of the four workshops, to identify possible action at all levels, and to reflect on the best ways and means of sharing experiences.

The Rabat expert workshop included the four moderators and those experts having participated in all four workshops, including the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, and the Special Rapporteur on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, a member of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and a representative of the Non-Governmental Organization Article XIX.

In line with the practice of the previous workshops, Member States were invited to participate as observers, and were encouraged to include experts from their capitals in the delegations. Relevant UN departments, funds and programmes as well as relevant international and regional organizations, national human rights institutions and civil society organizations (including academia, journalists and faith-based organizations) could also participate as observers.

The outcome document reflects the conclusions and recommendations agreed upon by the experts of the Rabat workshop either took part in all of the four workshops or who moderated one of these.

Please find the outcome document at: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Opinion/SeminarRabat/Rabat_draft_outcome.pdf


Mandate

Contact

Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief
c/o Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations at Geneva
8-14 avenue de la Paix
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland

Fax: (+41) 22 917 90 06

E-mail: freedomofreligion@ohchr.org or urgent-action@ohchr.org