UNITED NATIONS, March 26 (Xinhua) -- Two UN officials on Thursday expressed grave concern over the increase in stigma, hate speech and hate crimes targeting individuals and groups wrongfully vilified and perceived to be associated with COVID-19.
"We are all facing the same enemy, one which is invisible, rapidly advancing, taking lives away and causing havoc indiscriminately. But allowing it to tear apart the fabric of our societies is perhaps one of the most serious upheavals that the COVID-19 pandemic is inflicting upon our world," said Miguel Moratinos, the high representative for the UN Alliance of Civilizations, and Adama Dieng, special advisor to the UN secretary-general on genocide prevention, in a joint statement.
As much as the pandemic poses a global threat to peace and security, it also presents an opportunity to demonstrate unity and join hands, they said. "As the pandemic affects everybody, we should all be reminded of our common humanity, and that our lives are interconnected and our survival depends on reciprocal support."
More than ever, it is imperative to stand up against stigma, hate speech, xenophobia, racism and all forms of discrimination that are an affront to universal human values and rights, they said.
Beating the pandemic involves effective international cooperation and implementing an all-of-society approach, one that includes national governments, civil society, media, private companies, faith actors, youth and women, they said. "If we want societies to be inclusive, cohesive and peaceful, this is the time to foster an alliance between cultures, civilizations, and people."