UN says COVID-19 has bred virus of hate, urges immunity
United Nations, May 8 (efe-epa).- The UN Secretary General on Friday in a global appeal urged an “all-out effort to end hate speech globally,” which has spread simultaneously the expansion of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We must act now to strengthen the immunity of our societies against the virus of hate. That’s why I’m appealing today for an all-out effort to end hate speech globally”, said Antonio Guterres after warning that “the pandemic continued to unleash a tsunami of hate and xenophobia, scapegoating and scare mongering.”
According to Guterres,”we need every ounce of solidarity,” to confront the pandemic, which has increased the “anti-foreigner sentiments have surged online and in the streets. Anti- Semitic conspiracy theories have spread and COVID-19 related anti-Muslim attacks have occurred.”
“Migrants and refugees have been vilified as source of the virus, then denied access to medical treatment” , the UN chief said.
He further added that,”contemptible memes,” on older people have surfaced making them most vulnerable and that, “they are also the most expendable.”
Journalists, health professionals, humanitarian workers and human rights defenders “are being targeted simply for doing their job”, he said.
Guterres called on political leaders, educational institutions, media, civil society and religious leaders to stop this trend.
He urged the political leaders to show solidarity with all members of their societies build and reinforce social cohesion while he urged educational institutions to focus on digital literacy and confront the extremists who, “are seeking to prey on captive and potentially despairing audiences.”
He also urged media outlets to “remove racists, misogynist and other harmful content.”
Guterres further urged civil society to “strengthen outreach to vulnerable people and religious actors to serve as models of mutual respect.”
“And I ask everyone, everywhere, to stand up against hate, treat each other with dignity and take every opportunity to spread kindness”, said Guterres, who had launched the United Nations The Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech last year to contain its spread that has been warned of by several institutions and NGOs across the world. EFE-EPA