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You've my total commitment to reject anti-Muslim bigotry: UN chief to OIC nations

Gulf News 2020-05-23 15:00:01

United Nations: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has voiced his "total commitment" to rejecting anti-Muslim bigotry, hate and all forms of intolerance, urging all to draw from Ramzan the lessons of compassion, mutual respect and solidarity.

Guterres, in his remarks on Friday to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states on "COVID-19 Solidarity: Promoting Co-Existence and Shared Responsibility", called for solidarity in speaking out against the rise in ethno-nationalism, stigma and hate speech targeting vulnerable communities and exacerbating suffering.

"Now more than ever, solidarity and unity must be our leading principles. We also need solidarity in speaking out against the rise in ethno-nationalism, stigma and hate speech targeting vulnerable communities and exacerbating suffering.

"You have my total commitment to actively challenge inaccurate and harmful messages, promote non-violence and reject anti-Muslim bigotry, hate and all forms of intolerance," he said.

With millions around the world observing Eid in the shadow of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, Guterres said that the pandemic has demonstrated the world's inter-connections, inter-dependence and also "our fragility. Our world is like one body. As long as one part is affected by this virus, we all are affected".

The UN chief said that as "millions of Muslims around the world celebrate, let us draw from the many Ramzan lessons of mercy and compassion, of dignity and rights, of mutual respect and understanding, of unity and solidarity".

As the world faces a humanitarian and economic crisis due to the pandemic, Guterres underlined the need for solidarity for a large-scale, coordinated and comprehensive health response, guided by the World Health Organization (WHO), with a focus on developing countries, pooling efforts for those at greatest risk, and strengthening health systems as well as humanitarian response.

"Solidarity in tackling the devastating social and economic dimensions of the crisis - keeping households afloat and businesses solvent. And prioritising the most affected: women, older people, children, low-wage earners and other vulnerable groups.

"Solidarity for peace. And I thank so many of you for supporting my appeal for a global ceasefire to focus on the fight against the virus," he said.

The UN chief also expressed his gratitude to governments and people throughout the Muslim world who live by their faith, supporting those fleeing conflict in the best Islamic tradition of "hospitality and generosity - a remarkable lesson in this world where so many doors have been closed to those in need of protection, even before COVID-19".

The OIC, an international organisation comprising 57 member states, states that it is "the collective voice of the Muslim world" and works to "safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony".