Awareness-raising for National Members of Parliament on the need to fight hate rethoric

Awareness-raising for National Members of Parliament on the need to fight hate rethoric. Photo MONUSCO/David Fundi

18 Jun 2021

Awareness-raising for National Members of Parliament on the need to fight hate rethoric

David Fundi

During a morning discussions organized in Kinshasa on June 8, 2021 at the Pullman hotel by the United Nations Joint Office for Human Rights (UNJHRO) and the Division of Strategic Communication and Public Information MONUSCO, national parliamentarians, in particular members of the Standing Committee on Human Rights, were urged to fight hate rhetorics. 

A gloomy diagnosis 

In his inaugural lecture, the director of UNJHRO, Abdoul Aziz Thioye, noted that DRC has experienced, since the presidential and legislative elections of 2018, renewed hate speeches and messages, which, given the historical context and politics of the country, is giving cause for concerns. 

For his part, it would be worth recalling that the primary responsibility in the fight against hate rhetoric, intolerance and destabilization of the peace, rests with the DRC’ public actors and the strategy put in place by The United Nations is aimed to support and encourage the initiatives taken by DRC’s authorities to fight the hate rhetoric. 

He concluded by stating, "To settle this issue, States should organize information and training drives on the issue on the one hand and support the self-regulatory efforts by media outlets on the other hand"

For responsible use of the social networks 

After the Director of the UNJHRO, the Director of MONUSCO Strategic Communication and Public Information Division, Christophe Boulierac, called on the mempbers of parliament to use social media responsibly, which has strongly impacted political communication. 

The speaker recalled this obvious fact: "As we are aware, whether in the Democratic Republic of Congo or elsewhere, words can effectively kill", wondering: "So what should we do?" 

‘’One of the levers of action, it seems to me, is to enable you and the opinion leaders to better identify and recognize hate rhetorics and to better integrate the right reflexes to adopt in our daily digital practice,'' he suggested as an action to be taken in this fight. 

He was complemented by Yves Ntole from the same division who, in the chapter dealing with the MPs’ responsibilities, advised that caution, accountability and transparency should be exercised when using the social networks, including respect, confidentiality, relevance; we should be vigilant about the legal framework; post cautiously; specify, moderate and reframe. 

Positive membership 

This forum aroused a very noticeable interest from the MPs in attendance for the fight against this phenomenon experienced by the DRC, as evidenced by the massive participation in the discussions and in proposing possible solutions.

One of them came from Christelle Vuanga, the chairperson of the Standing Committee on Human Rights at the National Assembly, for whom this activity aimed `` the fight against the tendency for people to cling to their idea of cultural identity as well as the adoption of the adapted legislation''. 

She proposed that a larger forum be organized at the National Assembly to brainstorm on the the stereotyped language, with a view to voting a resolution as well as setting up a WhatsApp group with partners, in order to proceed with discussions. 

For her part, the national MP Mireille Masangu, elected from Lubumbashi, declared the following at the end of this discussion forum: ``As a national MP, this training seminar within the framework of the capacity-building on the hate rhetoric has been very relevant to me and will help raise awareness of our populations, our cultural circles and, above all, empowers us to also discuss with both civil and military authorities in a bid to banish hatred and rather preach peace, solidarity and unity".