The coronavirus showed that discrimination worldwide is getting stronger, Antonio Guterres says in his Friday statement.
The United Nations Secretary General stressed that the coronacrisis is unleashing “a tsunami of hate and xenophobia, scapegoating and scare-mongering”. The top world diplomat has appealed for mutual respect and “an all-out effort to end hate speech globally”.
Earlier, Guterres noted the cynicism of the extremists who use COVID-19 to recruit online youths. The self-isolation make people fragile, while the youth becomes especially vulnerable to the unhealthy ideas like extremism or xenophobia.
On Friday, the UN chief stressed “anti-foreigner sentiment has surged online and in the streets, anti-Semitic conspiracy theories have spread, and Covid-19-related anti-Muslim attacks have occurred”. Mr Guterres reiterated that migrants and refugees have been vilified as a source of the virus — and then denied access to medical treatment in many countries.
The UN chief urged political leaders to show the solidarity
UN SG called on political leaders to show solidarity with all people, on educational institutions to focus on “digital literacy” at a time when “extremists are seeking to prey on captive and potentially despairing audiences”.
According to Guterres, older persons become more fragile amid coronavirus pandemic. However, contemptible memes have emerged suggesting they are also the most expendable.
“And journalists, whistleblowers, health professionals, aid workers and human rights defenders are being targeted simply for doing their jobs,” the UN chief said and added that virus does not care who we are, where we live, what we believe or about any other distinction.
Talking about social media, Guterres recommended them to “remove racist, misogynist and other harmful content”, asked civil society to strengthen their outreach to vulnerable people and urged religious figures to serve as models of mutual respect.