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    In Alliance with the UN, Costa Rica will Design Latin America’s First Strategy Against Expressions of Hate and Discrimination

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    The Government of Costa Rica and the UN are preparing a national strategy to counter the spread of messages that lead to hatred and discrimination.UNICEF/Ashley Gilbertson The Government of Costa Rica and the UN are preparing a national strategy to counter the spread of messages that lead to hatred and discrimination.

    The strategy, which is expected by the end of 2023, will determine responsibilities, create new surveillance and control mandates, and identify areas of action. In addition, it will offer solutions to stop this scourge that has been multiplied exponentially by the digital world.

    After observing in recent years a spectacular increase in social networks and other digital platforms of speeches that fuel hate, discrimination and violence, the Government of Costa Rica announced this Wednesday that it will create a National Strategy to counteract them.

    Its preparation will be done in collaboration with the United Nations, which will be in charge of producing and applying the methodology, developing the situation analysis and carrying out field work that includes participatory workshops, sectoral and expert consultations, as well as documentary production. .

    The process will be led by a multidisciplinary team of professionals from the UN and the Government of Costa Rica, who have extensive experience. The plan is expected to be ready before the end of 2023.

    In announcing the news, the Minister of Communication, Jorge Rodríguez, highlighted that the central objective of the initiative is to contribute to the consolidation of the democratic social state and Costa Rican law to ensure justice, equality and peace.We are taking a step in the right direction to build a more inclusive, more equal and respectful society.

    “We must not allow expressions of hate, violence and discrimination to be normalized in public and digital spaces. Today we recognize that decisive action is required from the State, but also from all social actors to address this great challenge,” Rodríguez highlighted.

    A framework for joint action

    The Costa Rican strategy, which will be the first in all of Latin America, is aligned with the priorities of the Secretary General, who has repeatedly expressed the urgency of taking measures to stop these feelings that call out the worst in human beings.

    “Hate speech reinforces discrimination and stigmatization and is most frequently directed against women, refugees and migrants, and minorities. If left unchecked, it can even harm peace and development, as it lays the foundation for conflicts and tensions, as well as large-scale human rights violations,” stressed AntónioGuterres.

    The Costa Rica Strategy will make it possible to determine responsibilities, create new surveillance and control mandates, and identify areas of action. In addition, it will offer solutions that the Costa Rican State must lead, with its corresponding institutions, to put an end to demonstrations that incite hatred and marginalization.It will also make it possible to identify a framework for joint action and alliances with key sectors and lay the foundations for a long-term National Policy.

    The highest representative of the United Nations in the Central American country, Allegra Baiocchi, congratulated herself on the Government’s decision to heed the call to create a national strategy against hate speech.

    UN United against hate

    The UN highlighted that today the country is an international leader in the study and action against this scourge.For example, with support from the UN, the country has managed to establish an observatory on hate speech at the University of Costa Rica.

    It has also launched, together with the Bar Association, a legal guide to support people who want to use regulatory channels and supported the creation of tools, materials and campaigns to identify cases of discrimination that have reached hundreds of thousands of people.In addition, in recent weeks, it launched a guide to confront digital violence against women in politics.

    Exponential growth of hate on social networks

    The Central American country and the UN have been investigating and acting on this issue since 2018.The most recent report on hate speech in Costa Rica revealed a sustained increase in expressions that incite hatred and segregation during recent years.Precisely, the report requested forceful actions to stop this wave of hatred and discrimination.

    Between June 2022 and May 2023, more than 1.4 million malicious messages and conversations were detected on social networks, compared to the 937,000 detected in 2022, which represented a 50% increase in these types of manifestations. But if the figure is compared to that of 2021, the increase was 255%.

    “Today, with the launch of this process of creating a national strategy, we are taking a step in the right direction and as the United Nations we reaffirm our commitment to the Government of Costa Rica and to the Costa Ricans, to build a more inclusive society. , more egalitarian and respectful of diversity and the rights of all people. A Costa Rica where no one is left behind,” highlighted the UN representative.

     

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