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Guterres calls for end to racism

The UN chief stressed that the world body calls on all people to lay down weapons and reaffirm their commitment to living in harmony …reports Asian Lite News

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for efforts to eliminate racism and discrimination.

“Over the next 100 days and beyond, let us work to safeguard the human rights of all people and build peaceful and inclusive societies,” the UN chief said in his message for the 100-day countdown to the International Day of Peace, which falls on September 21 annually.

“Together, we can realise the vision of a world free of racism and racial discrimination.”

The UN chief stressed that the world body calls on all people to lay down weapons and reaffirm their commitment to living in harmony with one another every year on September 21, reports Xinhua news agency.

This shared aspiration “is more pressing than ever”, said the Secretary-General.

This year’s theme for the peace day is “End racism. Build peace”.

“Racism poisons societies, normalizes discrimination and spurs violence. We must fight it by countering hate speech, promoting dialogue and addressing the root causes of inequality,” Guterres said.

The International Day of Peace, also officially known as World Peace Day, is a UN-sanctioned holiday dedicated to world peace, specifically the absence of war and violence.

It can be occasioned by a temporary ceasefire in a combat zone for humanitarian aid access.

The day was first celebrated in 1981 and is kept by many nations, political groups, military groups, and people.

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Guterres slams UNSC for failing to prevent war

On his part, Zelensky said that Ukraine is ready for immediate negotiations to evacuate people from Mariupol and is counting on the UN’s support…reports Asian Lite News

At a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, visiting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres criticised the 15-member Security Council for failing to prevent or end Russia’s ongoing war against Kiev.

During the conference here on Thursday evening, Guterres, who arrived in Ukraine on Wednesday evening following his trip to Moscow, said: “Let me be very clear: (it) failed to do everything in its power to prevent and end this war,” the BBC reported.

He added that this was “a source of great disappointment, frustration and anger”.

The Secretary-General told Zelensky, who has previously criticised the Security Council after it faced criticism for failing to act since the invasion began on February 24, that “I am here to say to you President, and to the people of Ukraine, we will not give up”.

“The UN is the 1,400 staff members in Ukraine who are working to provide assistance, food, cash (and) other forms of support,” the BBC quoted Guterres as saying.

On his part, Zelensky said that Ukraine is ready for immediate negotiations to evacuate people from Mariupol and is counting on the UN’s support.

He also revealed that they also discussed the “food crisis provoked by Russia, increasing humanitarian aid for our country, and the return of Ukrainians deported by occupiers”.

“We appreciate the clear and unimportant position of the Secretary-General regarding the war of Russia against Ukraine.”

Describing Russia’s actions in his country as “genocide”, Zelensky said that Guterres had a chance to witness first-hand “all the war crimes” committed by Moscow since the war began.

After his arrival in Ukraine, Guterres also visited Borodyanka, a town north-west of Kiev destroyed due to Russian shelling.

Speaking to mediapersons in the town, he called the war an “absurdity in the 21st Century” and also appealed to save thousands of people in the besieged southern city of Mariupol.

“Mariupol is a crisis within a crisis… Thousands of civilians need life-saving assistance, many are elderly and in need of medical care, or have limited mobility. They need an escape route out of the apocalypse,” he was quoted as saying by the BBC.

During a meeting with Guterres in Moscow on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed in principle to the involvement of the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross in the evacuation of civilians from the Azovstal plant in Mariupol.

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After Russia visit, UN chief arrives in Ukraine

Guterres proposed creating a contact group where the UN, Russia and Ukraine can discuss the situation together so that the humanitarian corridors are truly effective….reports Asian Lite News

Following his trip to Russia UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced his arrival to the war-torn Ukraine where he will meet President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday

Taking to Twitter on Wednesday evening, the UN chief said: “I have arrived in Ukraine after visiting Moscow. We will continue our work to expand humanitarian support & secure the evacuation of civilians from conflict zones.

“The sooner this war ends, the better � for the sake of Ukraine, Russia, and the world.”

Ukraine war.(credit httpswww.facebook.comzelenskiy.official)

In a meeting with Guterres in Moscow on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed in principle to the involvement of the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross in the evacuation of civilians from the Azovstal plant in Ukraine’s besieged city of Mariupol.

The UN is following up on an agreement with Russia to coordinate the evacuation of civilians in Azovstal, a spokesman of the world body announced on Wednesday

Follow-on discussions were to be held with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the Russian Defense Ministry.

During their meeting, Putin also told the UN chief that the Ukrainian issue arose after the 2014 “unconstitutional coup” in Kiev and people in Donbas remained under blockade and military pressure even after the Minsk agreements on a peaceful settlement were reached.

According to the Russian President, the Donbas “republics” have the right to declare their sovereignty and Russia has the right to recognise their independence and provide them with military assistance in full accordance with the UN Charter.

Guterres proposed creating a contact group where the UN, Russia and Ukraine can discuss the situation together so that the humanitarian corridors are truly effective.

Before his trip to Moscow, the UN chief met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday in the capital Ankara.

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Guterres calls for independent probe on Bucha killings

Russian Defence Ministry has called this a staged operation by the Ukrainian authorities….reports Asian Lite News

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged on Sunday to conduct an independent probe of the killing of civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha near Kyiv.

“I am deeply shocked by the images of civilians killed in Bucha, Ukraine. It is essential that an independent investigation leads to effective accountability,” Guterres tweeted.

Russian Defence Ministry has called this a staged operation by the Ukrainian authorities.

On the other hand, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy termed this incident as “genocide.”

When asked during an appearance on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” program if Russia is carrying out genocide in Ukraine, Zelensky replied: “Indeed. This is genocide”

On Sunday, the media reports emerged with footage allegedly taken in the town of Bucha near Kyiv, with a number of bodies of dead people lying on the road.

An adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that Russian troops accused of massacring, torturing and brutalising hundreds of Ukrainian civilians in the outskirts of Kiev may have committed even worse atrocities in villages and towns further from the capital.

At least 410 innocent civilians were slaughtered in the cities of Bucha and Irpin to the west of Kiev, Ukraine has said, with bodies discovered littering roads and basements, and piled into hastily-dug mass graves as Russian troops fled the region at the weekend, leaving evidence of their crimes behind, Daily Mail reported.

Journalists based in Kiev who have visited the region since Russian forces withdrew say “clear evidence” of war crimes has been uncovered, including civilians shot with their hands bound behind their backs and other bodies that bear the marks of torture and rape.

But Tymofiy Mylovanov, the adviser to President Zelensky and Ukraine’s former Finance Minister, says even worse atrocities may have been perpetrated to the east of Kiev in the suburb of Brovary and in villages along the highway to Chernihiv, a city near the Russian border, and has called on journalists and lawyers to go to the region to help document what has happened.

Mylovanov said early eyewitness accounts and anecdotal evidence suggest children may have been burned alive, young women raped en-masse and then executed afterwards, and people forced to eat their pets after being deliberately starved by Russian troops.

Others may have been shot dead as they planted crops in the fields or killed in their gardens, he said.

Bodies of civilians, their hands bound and bullet wounds in the back of their heads, littered the streets of the small commuter town north of Kiev.

Survivors emerging from basements after weeks underground told of summary executions, sexual violence and terror not seen since Joseph Stalin’s Soviet rule of terror in the 1930s, reports the Daily Mail.

The Russian Defense Ministry claimed all photos and footage allegedly evidencing the Russian troops’ crimes in Bucha represent another provocation as all Russian units completely withdrew from the town as early as March 30.

Russian First Deputy Envoy to UN Dmitry Polyansky said on Sunday that Moscow has requested a UN Security Council meeting for Monday, claiming the “provocation of Ukrainian radicals” in Bucha.

“In light of the blatant provocation by Ukrainian radicals in Bucha, Russia has demanded a UN Security Council meeting be convened on Monday afternoon, April 4,” Polyansky was quoted as saying by Sputnik.

Moscow will expose “the Ukrainian instigators and their Western patrons,” he added.

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China-US cooperation vital: Guterres

The statement was issued after talks between Xie Zhenhua, China’s special envoy for climate change affairs and US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry…reports Asian Lite News

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday said that the cooperation between China and the US is important and expressed the hope that big countries will commit to net zero emissions of greenhouse gases by the middle of this century.

“The China-US cooperation is vital. It was vital for the Paris Agreement. It remains vital today, together with other important partners,” the secretary-general said at a press conference to launch the State of the Global Climate in 2020 Report when responding to a question regarding the joint statement issued Sunday by China and the US on coping with climate change after talks in Shanghai, Xinhua reported.

The statement was issued after talks between Xie Zhenhua, China’s special envoy for climate change affairs and US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry from Thursday to Friday in Chinese city of Shanghai.

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Replying to a question about his expectations for this week’s virtual climate summit, the top UN official said, “My hope is that, in this week’s summit, a number of countries, the most important countries in relation to climate change, will be able to commit to net zero emissions of greenhouse gases by the middle of the century and to commit to a drastic reduction of emissions for the next decade in the context of the review of their Nationally Determined Contributions. And this is very important in this summit.”

US President Joe Biden on March 26 invited 40 world leaders to attend a virtual summit on climate change on April 22 and 23.

Chinese and Russian leaders are invited to the summit, according to a White House statement.

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UN chief Guterres upset over anti-Asian violence

Guterres voiced his full support for the victims and families, and expressed solidarity with all those facing racism and other assaults on their human rights…reports Asian Lite News

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has expressed profound concerns over the rise in violence against Asians and people of Asian descent during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The world has witnessed horrific deadly attacks, verbal and physical harassment, bullying in schools, workplace discrimination, incitement to hatred in the media and on social media platforms, and incendiary language by those in positions of power, Xinhua news agency quoted Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for Guterres, as saying in a statement on Monday.

In some countries, Asian women have been specifically targeted for attack, adding misogyny to the toxic mix of hatred, the statement said.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
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Thousands of incidents across the past year have perpetuated a centuries-long history of intolerance, stereotyping, scapegoating, exploitation and abuse, it added.

The Secretary-General expressed his full support for the victims and families, and stood in solidarity with all those facing racism and other assaults on their human rights.

A protester holds a placard during a protest against Asian hate(IANS)

“This moment of challenge for all must be a time to uphold dignity for all,” the UN chief said.

The statement comes almost a week after after multiple shootings in and around the US city of Atlanta that killed eight people, among whom six were Asian women.

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