The civil rights organisation AfriForum took part in the thirteenth United Nations Forum on Minority Issues session. This year’s theme was “Hate Speech, Social Media and Minorities”, therefore Ernst Roets, AfriForum’s Head of Policy and Action, did a presentation via video feed on hate speech against minorities in South Africa.
“Hate speech directed at minorities in South Africa is a persistent and serious issue. After news of a farm murder is reported, social media is frequently filled with comments in which the murder is celebrated, or comments calling on minorities to ‘go back to Europe’,” says Roets.
“The crisis is not limited to social media and the government does nothing to address the issue. Hate speech is regularly committed by influential politicians and leaders of the government and the ruling party. Songs containing hate speech, like “Kill the boer, kill the farmer”, “One bullet, one settler” and “Shoot the Boer” is sung regularly.”
According to Roets hate speech has real consequences. In a study that the organisation conducted on high profile incidents of hate speech, it was found that farm murders and attacks increased in the months after such utterances were made and were reported on in the media.
“AfriForum’s presentation at the United Nations Forum on Minority Issues session forms part of our campaign to inform the international community of what is happening in South Africa. The world must know, and we are making progress in making that happen,” Roets concludes.
As part of AfriForum’s campaign against hate speech directed at minority groups, the organisation released a video detailing high-profile and shocking occurrences of hate speech, as well as outlining how people can assist AfriForum in its fight. The video can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b10Pu1Fsh2A