On July 14, 2017, the Plan of Action for Religious Leaders and Actors to Prevent Incitement to Violence that Could Lead to Atrocity Crimes was unveiled by the United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres. The project to develop the Plan of Action was spearheaded by the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect and developed over two years of consultations with some 232 religious leaders and actors from 77 countries.
Dr. Agnes Callamard, Columbia Global Freedom of Expression Executive Director and the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, took an active part in these consultations. Additionally, in November 2015, a two-day meeting was organized by Columbia Global Freedom of Expression jointly with the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, as well as with the support of Columbia Global Centers | Amman. At the meeting, 30 religious leaders from the Middle East and North Africa cooperated to develop a regional strategy to prevent and counter hate speech and incitement.
The Plan of Action is founded on human rights principles, in particular the right to freedom of expression and opinion, freedom of religion and belief and the right of peaceful assembly. It contains three main clusters of recommendations that aim to prevent, strengthen and build:
- Specific actions to prevent and counter incitement to violence
- Prevent incitement to violent extremism
- Prevent incitement to gender-based violence
- Enhance education and capacity building
- Foster interfaith and intra-faith dialogue
- Strengthen collaboration with traditional and new media
- Strengthen engagement with regional and international partners
- Build peaceful, inclusive and just societies through respecting, protecting and promoting human rights
- Establish networks of religious leaders