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Another Danger of COVID-19: Discrimination

April 10, 2020

Fear and anxiety are not excuses for social stigma or bigotry.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has increased fear and anxiety across the world, discrimination and abuse, fueled by misinformation and hateful rhetoric, are also on the rise.  In particular, those of Asian descent in the United States and around the world have faced abhorrent verbal and physical attacks. Since the pandemic began, reports of attacks against Asian Americans have risen — with 1,000 reported cases in just two weeks — even as many Asian Americans serve as essential personnel in the battle to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.  

UNICEF combats such xenophobia and stigma globally by sharing evidence-based information and tackling misinformation. UNICEF and partners issued this guide on preventing social stigma; and UNICEF’s Voices of Youth website shares young people’s experiences of discrimination and abuse. UNICEF USA posted its own excellent story on “Five Ways to Fight Racism and Xenophobia.”

UNICEF USA believes that fear and anxiety are not excuses for social stigma or bigotry against any population or vulnerable group

During this global crisis, it is more important than ever that we stand in solidarity with one another. We urge all UNICEF supporters and stakeholders to challenge coronavirus-based discrimination and abuse against Asian Americans and any other population, and to counter the myths and misinformation that lead to prejudice and xenophobia. In addition, we encourage decision-makers to engage youth to hear their perspectives, identify incidents of discrimination and abuse, and help generate inclusive solutions to deal with this pandemic.