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May 8, 2020 12:08 pm

UN Chief Urges Global Pushback Against ‘Tsunami of Hate’ During Coronavirus Pandemic

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Photo: UN.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday urged the international community to collectively stand up to the “tsunami of hate” that has accompanied the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In a special message underlining his alarm at the spread of antisemitic and racist conspiracy theories and a rise in physical violence against minorities, Guterres declared: “Covid-19 does not care who we are, where we live, what we believe or about any other distinction.”

Said the veteran Portuguese diplomat: “Anti-foreigner sentiment has surged online and in the streets. Antisemitic conspiracy theories have spread, and COVID-19-related anti-Muslim attacks have occurred. Migrants and refugees have been vilified as a source of the virus — and then denied access to medical treatment. With older persons among the most vulnerable, contemptible memes have emerged suggesting they are also the most expendable.”

Acknowledging the attempts of authoritarian states like China and Iran to shut down the information flow around the pandemic, Guterres expressed regret that “journalists, whistleblowers, health professionals, aid workers and human rights defenders are being targeted simply for doing their jobs.”

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Guterres concluded his message with a direct plea to the world’s citizens.

“I ask everyone, everywhere, to stand up against hate, treat each other with dignity and take every opportunity to spread kindness,” he said.

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