United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Saturday that religious leaders could play an important role in helping the world cope with the novel coronavirus outbreak. Guterres said that religious leaders could not only help people cope with the pandemic but also help them in dealing with the effects of the deadly disease. Guterres also thanked religious leaders for supporting his call for a global ceasefire that he made in early-March during the UN's Security Council meeting.
Guterres took to his Twitter handle where he wrote, "To defeat #COVID19 and build a more sustainable and equitable world, we need communities to come together. Religious leaders can play a pivotal role to deliver solutions to not only address the pandemic, but to recover better." The UN chief also addressed the urgent need of fighting the spread of disinformation and misinformation and requested religious leaders to use their networks and communication capacities to support governments in promoting WHO-recommended public health measures.
Guterres had made similar remarks on May 12 during an online meeting with religious leaders on the important role they can play, in limiting the damage caused by COVID-19. "It lays bare our responsibility to promote solidarity as the foundation of our response – a solidarity based on the human rights and human dignity of all. And it highlights the crucial role of religious leaders in your communities and beyond. And with this influence comes responsibility to work together, putting aside differences, and to translate our common values into action," Guterres said during the meeting.
Guterres also urged religious leaders to reject intolerance, racism and xenophobia. "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. Second, I also made an appeal for peace at home. Across the globe we are seeing an alarming increase in violence against women and girls as this pandemic spreads. This is in violation of principles common to every faith, and I appeal to religious leaders to categorically condemn such acts and support shared principles of partnership, equality, respect, and compassion," he said.
(Image Credit: AP)