Hate speech represents a significant challenge for Myanmar as it emerges from decades of military rule and navigates the transition to democracy. The country’s history of ethnic and religious conflict − combined with a rapid introduction to the Internet − has created new opportunities for actors to spread hateful and dangerous speech.
Equality Myanmar (EQMM) is a leading human rights organization in Myanmar that promotes transformative change through advocacy and human rights education programming. In collaboration with EQMM, the Capstone team developed a training curriculum and report on addressing hate speech in the country.
The report and curriculum were grounded in desk and field research and drawn from existing international legal frameworks, local perspectives, various legal and non-legal approaches to combating hate speech, and successful models of human rights education. The documents functioned as a resource that will help EQMM increase the capacity of civil society and government officials to address hate speech while also respecting and protecting freedom of expression and religious belief. The research section of the report provided background information on hate speech under international human rights law, identified key case studies, and summarized the perspectives and activities of other human rights organizations currently focusing on hate speech in Myanmar. The curriculum was developed in collaboration with EQMM and consisted of seven interactive learning activities that help participants examine various definitions and manifestations of hate speech; analyzed laws, policies, and practices from a human rights perspective; and developed strategies for addressing hate speech within the Myanmar context.