Words Matter Conference – Tackling the impact of Hate Speech

Words Matter Conference – Tackling the impact of Hate Speech

The Words Matter! conference will bring together global leaders, researchers, community advocates and youth representatives to discuss and explore ways to combat hate speech, hate crimes, and the exploitation of youth. The conference will include a full-day program featuring 20 international speakers from various countries and cultures.

Words Matter! will take place in Oslo, Norway, at the Oslo Congress Centre, on 30th April 2024.

Why Words Matter!

Hate speech is a growing problem worldwide. Whether online or offline, it threatens democracy and human rights. It leads to dangerous divisions in society, affects the lives of the people being targeted, and can generate extremism, radicalization and violence. Young people are most vulnerable to this form of intolerance.

Atrocity crimes originate from words as drivers of narratives of prejudice, racism and exclusion. These crimes can generate experiences of social isolation, stigma, discrimination and rejection. And they particularly harm young people: they damage their physical and mental well-being and can lead to extremism, radicalization and violence. It is our collective responsibility to address hate speech today to prevent violence tomorrow.

There is no universal definition of what hate speech is. We need to consider a range of national and local circumstances when discussing it. However, the risk is that by using subjective and inconsistent interpretations, we can weaken collective efforts towards a shared intervention protocol. The development of new governance tools around a standard definition calls for strategic collaboration between countries, media regulatory authorities and citizenship – particularly when tackling online hate speech.

This conference acknowledges such complexities. It seeks to improve awareness and knowledge of hate speech and its consequences for young people and to increase the knowledge of ways to prevent and combat hate speech, hate crime and hate violence.

To read more visit: https://wordsmatter.oslocenter.no/

The Democratization Journey – Puntland Federal State, Somalia

The Democratization Journey – Puntland Federal State, Somalia

Somalia a country located in the Horn of Africa has been plagued by decades of prolonged conflicts, political instability, and economic challenges. Despite the challenges, there has been a glim of hope denoted by the steps taken by the Federal states such as Puntland.

Puntland Federal State has undergone notable democratic transitions in history since 1998.  With the establishment of the Puntland Charter, it consequently bequeathed the executive and parliament with the traditional clan-based electoral system remaining predominant. With the establishment of the Puntland Electoral Commission, the country witnessed a momentous shift in the management and conduct of the elections. In 2011, the Puntland electoral process recorded significant strengthening with the enactment of the Puntland Electoral Laws. These laws provided the legal framework that established the regulations for conducting elections and outlined the roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders, including the Puntland Electoral Commission, political parties, and candidates.

Despite the milestones that the State had made in its electoral systems, in 2013 Puntland unsuccessfully attempted for the first time to implement the One person One Vote system in the local elections. In the consequent years, in October 2021, Puntland successfully conducted its first One Person One Vote system, marking a revolutionary step towards an inclusive and participatory democracy. Summatively, Puntland State dominated by the clan-system of elections, is steadily on the journey of building and refining its electoral systems to ensure that the voice of every citizen is valued, and their choice is effectively translated into government representation.

Through the interventions by The Oslo Center, Political associations have created platforms for political participation, promoting different ideologies, and influencing policy-making processes. During that time, Puntland’s electoral commission registered nine political associations that participated in the 2021 and 2022 local elections.

The succesful implementation of One Person One Vote system exemplify the great strides made towards participatory democratization process in Somalia as a country.

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