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Q: “Free speech is my human right. You cannot legislate what i can and cannot say”

A: Walk with me. Let’s got into more detail and see where man gets confused. It’s a rule of legal precedence.

Eleanor Roosevelt with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948

Actually, you can (in fairness, I was waiting for someone to jump in like this. Surprised it took a couple of days. There is always at least one, and it stands to reason, since they’re not lawyers and couldn’t be further from the truth of the matter. So Education time).

What you are referring to is articles 18 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Right, which are:

Article 18: Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.


Article 19: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

The word “speech” itself doesn’t appear here, but is implied because imparting that information may use any form to do so. Furthermore, it is stated in the preamble, which at that time did and still does, highlight the principle behind the Declaration. Remember, it was signed in 1948, 3 years after the end of WW2 and the genocide of the Jews and Russians, to name but two.

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous
acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

And furthermore, this was ascessed into law following this principle.

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last
resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law.

The problem with those folk citing anything close to article 19 or any such article, is they don’t take it in the context of the entirety of the declaration. Hence, anyone using any hate speech that drives it, directly violating articles 1, 2, 5 and 7.

Article 1: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Article 2: Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political,
jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
Article 5: No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Article 7: All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any
discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

And crucially, articles 8 and 12, which is where your statement starts to fall over.

Article 8: Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.
Article 12: No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

And then the ones that hit it out of the park, article 29 and 30. Take a look at these bad boys!

Article 29
1. Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full
development of his personality is possible.
2. In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the
general welfare in a democratic society.
3. These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the
purposes and principles of the United Nations.
Article 30: Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

If your hate speech is in conflict with a human right of another, then you are in breach of human rights yourself and they are not and neither is the declaration.

I’ll say it again. Free speech doesn’t trump Human rights and yes, your freedom to proclaim hate speech can be legislated away. Indeed, the UK has at least two straight laws against hate, including Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006.

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