UN calls for End to ‘Tsunami of Hate’, Xenophobia & Islamophobia
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres declared on Friday the coronavirus pandemic keeps unleashing “a tsunami of hate and xenophobia, scapegoating and scare-mongering” and requested for “an all-out effort to stop hate speech globally.”
The U.N. chief stated, “anti-foreigner opinion has arisen online and, in the streets, anti-Semitic conspiracy ideas have developed, and COVID-19-related anti-Muslim assaults have happened.”
Guterres said migrants and refugees “had been defamed as a beginning of the pandemic, and then refused access to medical treatment.”
“With older persons amongst the most vulnerable, contemptible memes have surfaced, implying they are also the usual expendable,” he stated. “And journalists, whistleblowers, health professionals, aid workers, and human rights protectors are being targeted utterly for doing their works.”
Guterres called on political leaders to manifest solidarity with all people, on educational institutions to concentrate on “digital literacy” at a time when “radicals are attempting to prey on bound and potentially despairing audiences.”
He called on the media, especially social media, to “eliminate racist, misogynist, and other dangerous content” on civil society to extend their outreach to vulnerable people, and on religious people to serve as “models of mutual respect.”
“And I ask everyone, everywhere, to stand up against hate, treat each other with honor, and take every chance to spread kindness,” Guterres stated.
The secretary-general emphasized that COVID-19 “does not care who we are, where we live, what we believe, or about any other distinction.”
His global call to address and fight COVID-19-related hate speech imitates his April 23 message calling the coronavirus pandemic “a human crisis that is fast growing as a human rights crisis.”
Guterres said then that the pandemic has noticed “disproportionate effects on certain societies, the growth of hate speech, the targeting of weak groups, and the risks of severe security responses undermining the health response.”
With “rising ethno-nationalism, populism, authoritarianism and blowback against human rights in some countries, the crisis can give the pretext to adopt repressive measures for purposes irrelevant to the pandemic,” he warned.
In February, Guterres declared a call to combat to countries, businesses and people to help renew and strengthen human rights across the globe, putting out a seven-point plan amid attention about climate change, conflict and repression.
His comments arrived as China said it was “always open to assist” with World Health Organisation (WHO) inquiries into the origins of the coronavirus, as Donald Trump repeated allegations that the outbreak originated in a Wuhan laboratory.
Trump’s claims, for which the U.S. is yet to provide proof, have fuelled tension between the two superpowers and put a crucial trade deal among the two countries in jeopardy.
On Thursday Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China supported WHO efforts to investigate the origin of the virus and “are always welcoming to cooperate with the WHO on matters, including on the question of origin.”
Late on Thursday, Trump emphasized that “something happened” at the Wuhan lab. “Probably it was incompetence. Somebody was stupid,” he stated.
Chinese officials and state media have responded harshly to the claims, blaming Trump, Pompeo, and U.S. officials of accusing China to cover up U.S. failings in its outbreak-response, and attempting to improve Trump’s electoral chances.
The U.S. is amongst few countries, including Australia, calling for an independent inquiry into the origin of the outbreak and for China to allow access. Still, the U.S. has often stood alone in promoting the theory that the virus originated at a Chinese laboratory, notably the Wuhan Institute of Virology.