Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

A migrant child from the Moria camp in Lesbos island wearing a mask to prevent the spread of the coronavirus waits for a bus after their arrival at the port of Piraeus on May 4, 2020 in Athens

A migrant child from the Moria camp in Lesbos island wearing a mask to prevent the spread of the coronavirus waits for a bus after their arrival at the port of Piraeus on May 4, 2020 in Athens, Greece. Greek authorities are moving 400 migrants, mostly families, to the mainland to help ease overcrowded conditions at the camp Moria in Lesbos island. (Photo: Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)

UN Chief Warns Against Global 'Tsunami of Hate and Xenophobia' Unleashed by Covid-19

The fresh statement from the United Nations secretary-general is an appeal to "strengthen the immunity of our societies against the virus of hate."

The coronavirus crisis has set off "a tsunami of hate and xenophobia," United Nations Secretary General António Guterres warned Friday, as he issued a global appeal to "defeat hate speech and Covid-19 together."

"Anti-foreigner sentiment has surged online and in the streets," said Guterres. "Anti-Semitic 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."

The U.N. chief also decried the "contemptible memes" that have erupted alongside the virus that suggest older people are "the most expendable."

"And journalists, whistleblowers, health professionals, aid workers, and human rights defenders" he continued, "are being targeted simply for doing their jobs."

Guterres said it was possible to "strengthen the immunity of our societies against the virus of hate" and pointed to actions various stakeholders and pollcy makers could take.

Political leaders, he said, should "show solidarity with all members of their societies" and work to boost "social cohesion." Guterres called on social media networks to rid their platforms of "racist, misogynist, and other harmful content."

People everywhere, Guterres added, must "take every opportunity to spread kindness."

The new statement follows Guterres's warning last month that the pandemic was fast becoming a human rights crisis.

"Against the background of rising ethno-nationalism, populism, authoritarianism, and a pushback against human rights in some countries, the crisis can provide a pretext to adopt repressive measures for purposes unrelated to the pandemic," Guterres said in April. "This is unacceptable."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We need your help.

Support progressive journalism.

Common Dreams is not your average news site. We don't survive on clicks or advertising dollars. We rely entirely on your support. And without it, our independent progressive journalism simply wouldn’t exist. Every gift of every amount matters.

Join the fight and support our common dreams today.

MSNBC Declines to Voluntarily Recognize Newsroom Union Effort

Organizers said that "we want to support one another and make this an even better place to build a career."

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·


Sanders Speaks Out Against 'Dangerous' Chorus Pushing for New Cold War With China

"Developing a mutually beneficial relationship with China will not be easy," the senator writes. "But we can do better than a new Cold War."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·


Indigenous Women Invite Deb Haaland to See Devastation of Line 3 for Herself

The tar sands project "poses a significant threat to water, Indigenous treaty rights, and worsens the global climate crisis," the group wrote to Biden's Interior Secretary.

Kenny Stancil, staff writer ·


After SCOTUS Upholds ACA, Progressives Set Sights on Medicare for All

Now, said campaigner Michael Lighty, "we can instead go to a system that will actually guarantee healthcare to everybody, which the ACA does not do and cannot do."

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·


McConnell Makes Clear 'All Republicans Will Oppose' Manchin Voting Rights Compromise

"The idea that Manchin can pass a law to protect the vote with help from the very people it needs protecting from is suspect at best."

Jake Johnson, staff writer ·