UN chief “concerned” over rise in violence against people of Asian descent

UNITED NATIONS, Mar 23 (APP): UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has voiced his “profound concern” over the rise of violence against Asians and people of Asian descent around the world during the coronavirus pandemic pandemic, a U.N. spokesman said.

While the U.N. chief did not name any countries, he spoke out following a shooting in Atlanta, capital of the U.S. state of Georgia, last week that left eight people dead, six of them Asian-American women. The shooting stoked fears among those in the Asian-American Pacific Islander community, which has reported a spike in hate crimes since March 2020 when then-President Donald Trump began referring to COVID-19 as the “China virus.”

The coalition “Stop AAPI Hate”, which documents and addresses anti-Asian hate and discrimination amid the pandemic across the US, released data last month reporting that there were more than 2,800 first-hand accounts of hate crimes having taken place between late March and the end of last year, across 47 states and Washington DC.

Just over seven per cent of these incidents involved Asian Americans over 60 years old. The hashtag #StopAsianHate has spread widely across social media, drawing support from many public figures both inside and outside the community.

US President Joe Biden condemned anti-Asian racism, during a solidarity visit to Atlanta in the wake of Tuesday’s attack, noting that hate crimes had risen, and urged Congress to pass a hate-crimes bill introduced earlier this month, by two Asian-American legislators.

“The world has witnessed horrific deadly attacks, verbal and physical harassment, bullying in schools, workplace discrimination, incitement to hatred in the media and on social media platforms, and incendiary language by those in positions of power”, said the UN chief, in a statement issued through his deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq. In some countries, Asian women have been specifically targeted for attack, adding misogyny to the toxic mix of hatred”, he continued.

“Thousands of incidents across the past year have perpetuated a centuries-long history of intolerance, stereotyping, scapegoating, exploitation and abuse.” The UN chief expressed his full support for all victims and families of those targeted, and “stands in solidarity with all those who face racism and other assaults on their human rights”, the statement concluded. “This moment of challenge for all must be a time to uphold dignity for all”, he said.

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