June 18 (UPI) -- U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday unveiled a new strategy to confront hate speech, which he warned was a precursor to the Holocaust, and genocides in Bosnia, Cambodia and Rwanda.
Guterres said the United Nations is implementing the U.N. Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech after noticing a "groundswell of xenophobia, racism and intolerance, violent misogyny, anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim hatred."
"In both liberal democracies and authoritarian regimes, some political leaders are bringing the hate-fueled ideas and language of these groups into the mainstream, normalizing them, coarsening the public discourse and weakening the social fabric," he added.
Under the plan, the United Nations will work to identify and prevent hate speech by bringing together people with opposing viewpoints, working with traditional and social media platforms and developing communications guidance. Guterres said that though certain technologies may be allowing hate speech to thrive, it can also be used to monitor such activity and spread opposing messages.
"Hate speech may have gained a foothold, but it is now on notice," he said. "We will never stop confronting it."
Guterres warned that stopping such hate speech should not venture into the territory of suppressing freedom of speech.
Adama Dieng, special adviser on the prevention of genocide, echoed Guterres warning against limiting free speech.
The United Nations' strategy "adopts a holistic approach that aims at tackling the whole life cycle of hate speech, from its root causes to its impact on societies," he said.