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UN Chief Highlights Crucial Role Of Religious Leaders In COVID-19 Fight

The UN chief appealed to religious leaders to put differences aside and translate common values into action to help reverse the pandemic and aid recovery.

UN chief

The United Nations chief appealed to religious leaders to put differences aside and translate common values into action to help reverse the pandemic and aid recovery. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was joined by religious leaders during an online meeting on May 12 where he highlighted their crucial role in limiting the damage caused by COVID-19.

Guterres said that the shared vulnerability to the coronavirus pandemic reveals “common humanity” and it is our responsibility to promote solidarity as the foundation of our response. The top UN official noted how spiritual leadership had been a positive influence during earlier public health crises including HIV/AIDS and Ebola.

“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”, explained Guterres.

Highlighting pivotal ways to help reverse the pandemic, the UN chief asked the religious leaders to “actively challenge inaccurate and harmful messages”. Guterres urged them to reject xenophobia, racism and “all forms of intolerance” as fake news and disinformation campaign have gained momentum at a time when people are most vulnerable to fall for it.

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'Coordinate decisive actions'

Guterres was also joined by Miguel Moratinos, High-Representative for the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), who shared the Secretary-General’s call for global solidarity. Moratinos said that people are the epicentre of this crisis and it is imperative for member states, religious leaders and faith-based organizations to coordinate decisive actions.

The UN official said that faith actors are deeply rooted in the communities they serve and they have been responding to the needs of their communities as humanitarian actors as well as leveraging their moral authority to share positive messaging.

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(Image credit: AP)

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