It is an honour for me to deliver this statement on behalf of my country, Norway.
Watching the news and social media these days, it is clear that racist attitudes and statements are still far too common. All over the world, people are being discriminated against, harassed and assaulted because of the colour of their skin, their ethnicity or their religion.
These injustices are not least happening on social media, where hate speech is widespread, for instance towards young activists engaged in the Black Lives Matter movement, or those defending their right to practice their religion. Hate speech can scare people away from taking part in society, and undermine true democracy, where everyone has the same rights, including the right to freedom of expression, the right to freedom of belief and religion, and the right to be protected from discrimination and harassment.
We need more dialogue, knowledge and education across sectors to fight intolerance, hatred and anti-democratic attitudes. In my own country [Norway], young people were included in the drafting of our national action plan against racism and discrimination [based on ethnicity and religion]. We believe it can make a difference to involve young people in dialogue and critical thinking in schools, as well as in sports arenas and other public arenas.
We must say no to discrimination. We must say no to hate speech, which drives us apart. We must say yes to mutual respect, in order to create equal, just and inclusive societies.
I would like to end with asking the Special Rapporteur how we can better protect young activists from being discriminated against online?