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Photo: Eric Parker, used under CC BY-NC 2.0 licence (

49th Session of Human Rights Council (28 February-1 April 2022)

Agenda Item 3: Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief – 10 March 2022

Oral statement submitted by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC)

Thank you, Madame President.

The Association for Progressive Communications welcomes the report of the Special Rapporteur, and the opportunity to engage in this dialogue.

We welcome the focus on the use of hateful rhetoric in digital spaces to incite violence and harm against religious minorities. These issues are of particular concern in India, where religious minorities, and particularly, women, are subjected to hate speech and threats online and offline. Since June last year, there have been at least two instances of “online auctions” for hundreds of Muslim women prominent on social media. A recent investigation on the “Tek Fog” app also showed that there is a targeted attempt to subject women journalists and minority women to hate speech. Further, in February 2022, the phone numbers and addresses of Muslim women students, who were protesting their right to wear hijab in educational institutions, were leaked online, resulting in them being doxxed and abused.

These repeated instances of hate speech and threats had and continue to have a damaging impact on the rights of minorities in India. We support the report’s recommendation to states to fulfill their obligations to prohibit incitement to discrimination or violence based on religion, and call on the government of India to immediately take the necessary steps to protect religious minorities.

We also welcome the recommendations to companies to apply relevant international human rights standards as part of their content moderation practices.

APC calls on the mandate to continue to work on this matter with states and companies to encourage their compliance with these recommendations.

Thank you.


Watch the video of the statement submitted by Verónica Ferrari, APC's Global policy advocacy coordinator, on behalf of APC: