Hate speech precedes violence: CaFFE | Daily News


Hate speech precedes violence: CaFFE

Highlighting that hate speech is only a prelude to physical attacks/violence, the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) urged the authorities to take immediate action to end the systematic hate speech campaign against female Muslim candidates of the forthcoming local government elections.

The organisation has consulted with the Commission of Elections and will take action against certain Muslim clerics who have been carrying out the systematic campaign.

“The CaFFE has been calling for a mandatory quota for female candidates since its inception, and we were extremely jubilant of the new laws enforcing this mandate. If immediate action is not taken against these reactionary elements, these laws will have no impact and efforts by numerous groups, for decades, will be for naught,” CaFFE Executive Director Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon said.

He said that while the CaFFE opposes any efforts to discourage female political participation and in a number of Muslim majority countries, women hold a high proportion of seats in national parliaments. “For example, 28 percent in Afghanistan, 26 percent in Algeria, 20 percent in Bangladesh, 20 percent in Indonesia and 21 percent in Pakistan. So someone can’t just say it’s against the religion,” he said.

This campaign against women have been brought to CaFFE’s attention when the organisation was conducting workshops, seminars and training sessions for female candidates contesting for the February 10 Local Council Elections.

“During our sessions in the North Western and Eastern Provinces, a number of female candidates, grass roots female activists and community leaders have informed us that there is a systematic campaign to demoralise, dehumanise and discredit female candidates by certain Muslim clerics attached to controversial organisations which are bent on damaging reconciliation and ethnic harmony,” he said.

A number of female candidates have informed the CaFFE that these attacks, which aim to tarnish their reputations within the communities they live in, have greatly demoralised them and that they fear for their safety. The CaFFE informed these developments to political parties, the police and civil society organisations that work in these areas about these alarming developments.

“The CaFFE has been monitoring Sri Lankan elections since 2008 and in our experience, verbal abuse/hate speech is only a prelude to physical attacks/violence. If female candidates, especially Muslim female candidates, are assaulted or are intimidated, no one except those from political families will come forth to contest in coming elections,” he said. 

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Why nobody talks about HATE ACTIONS? If one looks at this carefully, it is easy to understand that hate speech is ignited by hate actions of some elements.

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