This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
UN launches new campaign to counter ‘lies, fear and hate’
The UN on Thursday launched a new initiative to combat the growing scourge of COVID-19 misinformation by increasing the volume and reach of trusted, accurate news on the pandemic.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who announced the initiative, known as Verified, said the world could not hand over “virtual space” online, “to those who traffic in lies, fear and hate.”
The UN chief noted how misinformation spreads online, in messaging apps and person to person, through “savvy production and distribution methods. To counter it, scientists and institutions like the UN, need to reach people with accurate information they can trust”, he added.
Verified, led by the UN Department for Global Communications, home to UN News, will provide information around three themes: science – to save lives; solidarity – to promote local and global cooperation; and solutions – to advocate for support to impacted populations.
It will also promote recovery packages that tackle the climate crisis and address the root causes of poverty, inequality and hunger.
UN calls on European States to rescue stranded refugees, migrants
The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), are calling on Malta and other European States to urgently bring to dry land around 160 rescued refugees and migrants still at sea aboard two Captain Morgan vessels.
A separate group of 21 people, mostly women and children, were already evacuated and disembarked in Malta several days ago.
Those remaining have been on board for some two weeks - the standard quarantine period for COVID-19 - without any clarity on disembarkation.
The agencies said it was unacceptable to leave people at sea longer than necessary and raised concerns about reports that governments have been ignoring or delaying responses to distress calls, especially amid a sharp decrease in State-led and NGO search and rescue efforts.
They reminded European States of their legal obligations to immediately assist people in distress, adding that they cannot be traded away with the offer of fuel and aid.
Malaysia urged to ‘stop crackdown on migrants, journalists and civil society’
Malaysia must halt an ongoing crackdown on migrants, journalists and civil society in the context of the fight against the coronavirus and do more to oppose xenophobia and hate speech, UN independent rights experts said on Thursday.
Felipe González Morales, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, said he was alarmed by what is happening in Malaysia, after what was initially a “positive attitude of the government towards an inclusive response.”
“The current crackdown and hate campaign are severely undermining the effort to fight the pandemic in the country,” he said, urging, along with other experts, for “the Malaysian authorities to refrain from raiding locked-down areas to arrest and detain migrants.”
Matt Wells, UN News.