Latest on coronavirus outbreak

UN official calls for international unity against hatred

COVID-19 infected society with virus that spreads hate, discrimination, Islamophobia, says Alliance of Civilizations official

Nazli Yuzbasioglu   | 23.06.2021
UN official calls for international unity against hatred Miguel Angel Moratinos, High Representative of the Alliance of Civilizations attends Tackling Extremism and Discrimination during the Antalya Diplomacy Forum at NEST International Convention Center in Antalya, Turkey on June 19, 2021 ( Mustafa Çiftçi - Anadolu Agency )

ANTALYA, Turkey

A senior UN official is calling for international unity against hatred, saying the COVID-19 situation is not just an economic or financial crisis, but a human one.

Miguel Angel Moratinos, high representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, told Anadolu Agency on the sidelines of Turkey’s three-day Antalya Diplomacy Forum, which wrapped on Sunday, that people were shocked by the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 last year.

The COVID-19 virus has affected people's health, wallets, and social conditions, he said, adding: "But we have been infected by the virus of hate, discrimination, xenophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism even more. So the crisis of COVID-19 is not economic or financial crisis. The crisis is a human crisis."

"The best antibodies, the best vaccine, towards the new reality the new world that COVID-19 has created, is to really put people working together, whatever their culture, their religion, ethnicity, or condition," said Moratinos, a former Spanish diplomat.

At the diplomacy forum, held in the Turkish resort of Antalya, he said he stressed the point "Wake up, humanity, what is in danger is homo sapiens," adding that people have to rediscover their humanity, which includes "values, culture, religion, that make us be human beings. We are not robots. We are all humans. And we must live together, accepting each other's differences and diversity.”

Turkey’s contribution to UN Alliance of Civilizations

Turning to the Alliance of Civilizations initiative, a project spearheaded in 2005 by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, then Turkey’s prime minister, and then-Spanish Premier Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Moratinos praised Turkey’s role in the initiative.

“I have to pay tribute to President Erdogan and the leadership of Turkey, not only for being the co-sponsor with Spain, but for maintaining a permanent engagement with the alliance, and today, more than ever,” he said.

He said that the visions of Turkey and Spain for a better world have been demonstrated under the Alliance of Civilizations, as things have arguably gotten worse since the project started.

“They were aware of what was about to occur in the near future. So, if the alliance was necessary 15 years ago, it is even more so today. Because we've seen how antinomy, controversies between cultures and religions can lead to crises and conflict,” he explained.

“We can resolve different issues through diplomacy, which is the instrument of the UN Alliance of Civilizations,” he added.

Moratinos also praised the Antalya Diplomacy Forum as a "fantastic initiative."

“I believe we should welcome this historic city that serves as a crossroads of culture and civilization. History and geography have placed Antalya at the center of what was once all diplomacy, and it remains at the center of what will be today's and future diplomacy,” he said.

The 2021 Antalya Diplomacy Forum, with the theme "Innovative Diplomacy: New Era, New Approaches," took place on June 18-20 in the Turkish Mediterranean resort city.

It featured debates on major world issues, including the Balkans, the future of Europe, trans-Atlantic relations, the Eastern Mediterranean, refugees and migrants, and the threat of terrorism.

The forum, with Anadolu Agency as its global communication partner, welcomed 10 heads of state and government, 42 foreign ministers, three former heads of state and government, and more than 50 representatives of international organizations or former government officials, according to the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.