Antonio Guterres (File image )
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has expressed profound concern over the rise of violence against Asians and people of Asian descent during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying thousands of incidents through the past year perpetuated a centuries-long history of intolerance, stereotyping and abuse.
Guterres's statement comes against the backdrop of multiple shootings this month in and around Atlanta that killed eight people, among whom six were Asian women.
Robert Aaron Long, 21, a white man, admitted to police that he had killed four people inside two spas in Atlanta and four others at a massage parlour in suburban Cherokee County.
Guterres is profoundly concerned about the rise of violence against Asians and people of Asian descent during the COVID-19 pandemic, a statement issued through his spokesperson said Monday.
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, he said.
Guterres said in some countries, Asian women have been specifically targeted for attack, adding misogyny to the toxic mix of hatred.
Thousands of incidents across the past year have perpetuated a centuries-long history of intolerance, stereotyping, scapegoating, exploitation and abuse, he said.
Expressing his full support for the victims and families, Guterres said he stands in solidarity with all those who face racism and other assaults on their human rights.
This moment of challenge for all must be a time to uphold dignity for all, he added.
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, a UN News press release said.