Wednesday, May 13, 2020

U.N. Conference On Role of Religious Leaders In Addressing COVID-19 Crisis

Yesterday, the United Nations General Assembly held a video conference on The Role of Religious Leaders In Addressing the Multiple Challenges of COVID-19. Here is background on the conference and a list of speakers. Here is a video of the entire 3-hour Conference. In his remarks (full text), U.N. Secretary General António Guterres said in part:
[W]e continue to see conflicts rage in many places — along with a rise in ethno-nationalism, stigma and hate speech targeting vulnerable communities and exacerbating suffering.  Meanwhile, extremists and radical groups are seeking to exploit eroding trust in leadership and feed on people’s vulnerability to serve their own ends.
 I ask faith leaders to actively challenge inaccurate and harmful messages, and encourage all communities to promote non-violence and reject xenophobia, racism and all forms of intolerance....
 Across the globe we are seeing an alarming increase in violence against women and girls as this pandemic spreads.... I appeal to religious leaders to categorically condemn such acts....
 [A]s we fight the spread of disinformation and misinformation, I ask religious leaders to leverage your networks and communication capacities to support governments in promoting WHO-recommended public health measures — from physical distancing to good hygiene — and to ensure that faith-based activities, including worship, religious ceremonies and burial practices, comply with these measures.