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𝐄𝐑𝐂 𝐋𝐀𝐔𝐍𝐂𝐇𝐄𝐒 π‚πŽπ”ππ“π„π‘πˆππ† 𝐇𝐀𝐓𝐄 𝐒𝐏𝐄𝐄𝐂𝐇 π‚π€πŒππ€πˆπ†π

The Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC), in collaboration with the United Nations (UN) Guyana, officially launched its Countering Hate Speech Campaign on Tuesday, 18th June 2024, at the National Library Conference Room. The launch coincided with the UN International Day for Countering Hate Speech, observed annually on June 18.
This event garnered support from the government, diplomatic corps, private sector, and youths, among others. Opening the event was Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ERC, Ms. Gomin Camacho. She posited that the “Campaign aims to educate and inform individuals to be more aware that certain words and statements carry negative connotations, which hurt, disrespect, and in some cases lead to violence. We aim to counter negative sentiments with positive words that are respectful and considerate to others.”
At the forefront of the campaign was the clarion call made by invited speakers in support of the Countering Hate Speech Campaign.
Ms. Yesim OruΓ§, the UN Resident Coordinator to Guyana, addressed the gathering and provided a global context for countering Hate Speech. She alluded to the pervasive influence of the internet and social media on the destructive effects of hate speech and noted that this campaign is not intended to infringe on a person’s right to freedom of speech but is intended to discourage the escalation of hate speech.
Deputy Chairman of the ERC, Mr. Charles Ogle, in his address, concurred with the UN findings that social media is the main platform on which hate speech is perpetuated. He added that the campaign is intended to enhance ERC’s current efforts in addressing hate speech.
Mr. Ogle explained that the Campaign will include an intense social media and public awareness aspect designed to counter Hate Speech and sensitize the public to the harm associated with such speech. Workshops will target youth, influencers, and disc jockeys, and advanced monitoring mechanisms will utilize technology to aid ERC in better capturing a wider scope of monitoring than manual efforts can reach.
Representing the youth was Ms. Rosemarie Ramitt of the Guyana Council of Organizations for Persons with Disabilities (GCOPD). Ms. Ramitt, in her remarks, supported the UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech, describing hate speech as “a menace to democratic values, social stability, and peace.” She further noted that “the spread of hate speech is amplified by the use of digital tools and platforms, hence the urgent need and timely launch of this campaign.”
President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Mr. Kester Hutson, outlined some private sector initiatives to combat hate speech. “As private sector leaders, we have a unique platform to promote inclusivity, diversity, and respect. We can leverage our influence to create a culture of empathy and understanding. We can use our marketing channels, social media, and community outreach programs to spread positive messages and counter hate speech,” he proposed.
Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, the Honourable Gail Teixeira, speaking as the Government representative, emphasized that all are equal regardless of cultural, racial, or ethnic backgrounds. She attributed a significant role to the family unit in halting the growth of hate speech. “I do believe that the family is the place where values and principles are taught to our children,” she added her voice in support of the initiative, calling for a constructive and productive campaign and urging all to “stand up and have the courage to speak out against someone who is saying something derogatory in your presence.”
Commissioner Neaz Subhan, in his capacity as Chairman of the Public Relations sub-committee of ERC highlighted the commission’s plans to develop a Glossary that helps in cataloging derogatory terms, which will benefit from engagement of stakeholders nationwide. He also spoke of the Public Service Announcement (PSA) developed in collaboration with the University of Guyana Students’ Society (UGSS) and stressed the importance of youth as the largest demographic in our country, hence one of the most important in carrying our message to Counter hate speech.
The ERC looks forward to continued partnerships with key stakeholders to raise awareness and education in promoting harmony and good relations. We invite all to show support in countering hate speech by becoming advocates for positivity.
Say No To Hate Speech!
Ethnic Relations Commission
June 18, 2024

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