UN Secretary-General Planning New Initiatives to Counter Hate

By Janet Ekstract

UNITED NATIONS – United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is making countering global hate his mission.

The Secretary-General addressed this issue a week ago in a U.N. General Assembly where he pointed out the ubiquitous and increasing incidences of anti-Semitism and Islamaphobia as well as attacks on churches and other houses of worship around the world.

Guterres pointed out that xenophobia has become the norm rather than the exception and that in light of the numerous incidents of hate speech and hate crimes that a new solution must be found to counter the hate.

He also emphasized that this issue belongs to each and every one of us to get involved and to be more vigilant in helping to stamp out the scourge of hate worldwide.

The secretary-general reiterated that the world has reached a “pivotal moment.”  It is in light of these acts of hate that the UN will introduce two initiatives, the UN chief explained.

He explained that the Special Representative of Genocide Prevention will head up the first initiative that will be concerned with hate speech. Meanwhile, the second initiative will deal with how best to protect religious sanctuaries which will be led by the High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations.

The secretary-general made it clear that these are urgent issues that must be dealt with immediately. Guterres strongly stressed that “the world must step up to stamp out anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim hatred and persecution of Christians and all other forms of racism, xenophobia, discrimination and incitement.”

The UN chief added that both political and religious leaders have a special responsibility to “promote peaceful co-existence.” Guterres explained that he has confidence in being supported by governments, civil society and other partners in order to maintain the values that unite everyone as a “single human family.”

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