The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution on Wednesday acknowledging the role of hate speech, racism and other forms of intolerance in fuelling conflicts.
Jointly drafted by the UAE and the UK, the resolution also highlighted the adverse effects of gender discrimination and acts of extremism on global peace and stability.
Noura Al Kaabi, UAE Minister of State, who headed the ministerial-level Security Council session on the values of human fraternity in promoting and sustaining peace, noted that no nation or region is immune to the growing threat of hate speech.
She added that the “clear challenges” posed by hate speech and extremism cannot be “overlooked”.
“Our approach and initiatives are based on the challenges experienced by the Arab region, including the spread of hate speech and its role in inciting, exacerbating and prolonging conflicts,” she said.
Ahead of the vote, Lana Nusseibeh, the UAE's ambassador to the UN, stressed the root causes of conflicts past and present are multifaceted.
“Yet we continue to see common threat multipliers that drive the outbreak escalation and recurrence of conflict across the files on the council's agenda,” she said.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres argued that hate is not new to “our time”, but what is new is its speed and reach.
“Social media has equipped hate-mongers with a global bullhorn for bile,” he said.
Pope Francis and Sheikh Ahmed Al Tayeb, grand imam of Al Azhar, the 1,000-year-old seat of Sunni learning in Cairo, delivered messages calling for peace to the Security Council session.
Sheikh Ahmed said in a video address that human fraternity was the key to global peace, a point he and the pope had made in a joint document released in Abu Dhabi in 2019.
He said his intention in speaking to the council was to urge an end to senseless wars. He cited Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and Yemen, and the need for the council to recognise an independent Palestinian state after 75 years.
Without naming either Russia or Ukraine, he said the war unfolding on the eastern borders of Europe had instilled terror and “concern that it may regress humanity to a primitive era”.
“Our gathering today is not a luxury but a necessity, dictated by concern for the future of humanity,” he said.
Pope Francis, who is in hospital recovering from abdominal surgery, sent a statement saying that the world was going backward from the dream when the United Nations was founded in 1945 that countries would move toward a more stable peace and “become at last a family of nations”.
Instead, the world is seeing “the rise of myopic, extremist, resentful and aggressive nationalisms that have kindled conflicts which are not only anachronistic and outdated but even more violent”, he said.