GAAMAC Asia Pacific Study group meets in Bangkok
On 29 January 2020, the GAAMAC Asia Pacific Study Group, formed at GAAMAC III in Kampala, Uganda, met in Bangkok, Thailand to workshop a draft report on preventing hate speech, incitement, and discrimination. Papers at the workshop were presented by participants from Human Rights Alert (India), Initiatives for International Dialogue (Philippines), the Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (Australia), the Australian National University, who were joined by human rights lawyers and civil society representatives from Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia.
The group discussed the implications of addressing hate speech and incitement for long-term and immediate atrocity prevention, and key developments across state and non-state levels in addressing these issues in the Asia-Pacific region. It focussed on three in-depth case-studies on India, Myanmar and the Philippines, drawing on data, fieldwork and interviews conducted by members of the working group over the past 12 months.
Bringing attention to the varied historical, legal and political contexts of hate speech and violence in these three countries, further discussion at the workshop investigated a breadth of issues such as colonial legacies and modern political developments that feed into cultural and structural violence underlying ethnic and religious tensions. The group discussed the possibilities of transforming discriminatory attitudes and combatting hate speech through transitional justice, gender inclusion, and strategies for strengthening regional mechanisms.
The final report will contain practical recommendations for state, non-state and multilateral actors that are responsive to the contexts of discrimination and violence presented in the case studies, and will be available for dissemination in mid-2020. The report will be presented at GAAMAC IV which will take place from 16-19 November 2020 in the Hague.