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Resposible Speech - Right to freedom of expression

Freedom Of Speech does not protect you from the consequences of spewing irresponsible garbage.

The issue of hate speech is a pervasive issue affecting all states. As widespread as this issue is, there is no clear legal definition of hate speech. However, hate speech and incitement primarily targets persons defined in terms of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, among others. Given how close and interlinked hate speech and freedom of expression are, and the expanding parameters of #expression through online platforms, it has become increasingly difficult to address hate speech without impacting freedom of expression.

The session aims to provide an analysis of the right to freedom of expression within the #internationalframework in relation to hate speech and incitement to violence and position hate speech and incitement within the pyramid of hate, recognising the means through which it can evolve into large-scale atrocity crimes such as genocide.

Suhail Rashid Bhat is a human rights advocate, legal researcher, and law teacher with 4 years of experience. During his practice as an advocate, he has been part of important constitutional cases, most notably the decriminalization of begging in the State of J&K where he was the arguing counsel for the petitioner side. In 2019, he bagged the UK Government’s Chevening Scholarship and went on to complete LLM in Human Rights, Conflict, and Justice with distinction from SOAS University of London. He was awarded the Best Performance Award in LLM by SOAS, School of Law.

Suhail worked as a researcher at Rights for Peace – a London based NGO working on the prevention of mass atrocities. He contributed to the comments on ‘UN Revised Draft General Comment No. 37 on Article 21 (Right of Peaceful Assembly) of the ICCPR’ and developed a framework for identification of a hate speech expression and the process for bringing in a complainant as a Process Flow Diagram to be used for training ground practitioners in South Sudan, Sudan and Cameroon. He was associated with SOAS International #HumanRightsClinic where he co-authored a report on the implementation of international legal standards on hate speech and incitement of violence.

In 2020, Suhail joined the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies as an Assistant Professor in Law.

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