Many societies now face the problem of hate speech. It has reached the level of a global problem. Many groups use freedom of expression to oppress other groups through using hate speech. The problem of hate speech represents a complex topic because it is interwind with the right of freedom of expression. However, international human rights law tries to combat the hate speech law in some treaties, such as the ICCPR and CERD, by offering rules to guide states constitutional courts in adjudicating these cases by limiting some of their absolute discretionary power in deciding these cases. These efforts have not led to comprehensive rules against hate speech. Therefore, countries have adopted two approaches to organize the right of freedom of expression and their restriction of hate speech. The US approach grants the freedom of expression without any restriction on hate speech. Meanwhile, the ECHR has adopted an approach that restricts hate speech in many cases. The main effects of these contradictions are two models that offer different approaches to the hate speech problem. The study of freedom of expression rights and its restrictions in these two models is essential to know the justifications for hate speech protection and refuted by literature and court cases. This paper illustrates the main IHRL treaties that organize the freedom of expression rights and its restrictions to explain the hate speech problem's origin. The US doctrine is explained by illustrating cases and opinions which support this system. The critical race theory and feminist scholarship opinions which call for restricting hate speech are analyzed. They reject hate speech because it increases racism and discrimination in society and supports hate speech restriction. This paper also views the ECHR cases that adopt the same approach. This paper argues that hate speech should be restricted because it causes harm to individuals and society.


School of Global Affairs and Public Policy


Law Department

Degree Name

LLM in International and Comparative Law

Graduation Date

Spring 5-25-2021

Submission Date


First Advisor

Jason Beckett

Committee Member 1

Hani Sayed

Committee Member 2

Thomas Skouteris


68 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item