CALLING for India to play a major role in global vaccination campaign, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday termed the vaccine production capacity of India as the “best asset” that the world has today. Addressing reporters here, the UN chief said, “I know that in India there is a very high level of production of Indian developed vaccines. We are in contact with Indian institutions for that. We strongly hope that India will have all the instruments that are necessary to play a major role in making sure that a global vaccination campaign is made possible.”
“I think that the production capacity of India is the best asset that the world has today. I hope the world understands that it must be fully used,” he added. On the need to democratize access to medicines, Guterres said, “I would say a very important element on the democratization of access to medicines all over the world. I appealed once again today for the licenses to be made available in order for companies around the world to be able to produce some of the vaccines that already exist.”
Guterres receives COVID-19 vaccine: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and appealed to people to get vaccinated as soon as they can while stressing that nations must ensure the vaccine is available to everyone, everywhere. Guterres, 71, received the first dose of the Moderna vaccine at a New York City public school on Thursday. Guterres gestured to make a victory sign as he was administered the shot. “My appeal is for all to take profit of the opportunities that exist and be vaccinated as soon as they can,” he said, adding that it is important for everybody, everywhere to be vaccinated.
‘Any military confrontation between India, Pak would be disaster of unmitigated proportion’
By Yoshita Singh
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said it is “absolutely essential” for India and Pakistan to be able to come together and seriously discuss their problems, cautioning that any military confrontation would be a “disaster of unmitigated proportions” for both countries and the whole world.
“Well, what I said in the statement... is unfortunately the same that I can say today. I mean, I do believe that it is absolutely essential to have a de-escalation of the situation, namely in the Line of [Control],” the UN chief said.
Guterres was responding to a question by a Pakistani journalist on tensions between India and Pakistan over the situation in Kashmir. The question also referred to the statement Guterres had issued in August 2019 on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir where he had appealed for maximum restraint.
“I think it’s absolutely essential for the two countries to be able to come together and seriously discuss their problems, and I think it’s essential that human rights are fully respected in all territories that you mentioned,” Guterres said during his press briefing on Thursday.
“Now, things have not moved in the right direction. Our good offices are always available, and we will insist within it of finding peaceful solutions for problems that have no military solution. It is clear, when seeing Pakistan and India, any military confrontation between the two would be a disaster of unmitigated proportions for both countries and for the whole world,” he said.
Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after New Delhi abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution to withdraw Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcated it into two Union Territories in 2019.
Worried about power of social media companies: UN chief
By Yoshita Singh
UN SECRETARY-General Antonio Guterres has said he is “worried” about the power of social media companies and called for creating a global mechanism to regulate them.
Guterres, addressing a press conference on Thursday following his informal briefing to the UN member states on ‘Priorities for 2021’, said he does not think “we can live in a world where too much power is given to a reduced number of companies” “Well, I think that the question is not the right question, if I may. The right question should be a company, the entity, that has the power decision on these issues, or should we create a mechanism in which there is a regulatory framework with rules that allow for that to be done in line with law? And my clear answer is the second,” Guterres said.
He was responding to a question on whether Twitter made the right move in closing down the account of former US President Donald Trump.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has said that banning Trump from posting messages after the violence at the US Capitol on January 6 was the “right decision”. Facebook also banned Trump. “I must say that I’m particularly worried about the power that they already have,” Guterres said.
He underlined that he hopes “we will see a reset in the relations between the US and China with different dimensions”.
“I mean, the volume of information that is being gathered about each one of us, the lack of control we have about our own”... The data related to ourselves, the fact that that data can be used not only for commercial purposes to sell to advertising companies but also to change our behaviour, and the risks of that to be used also from a political point of view for the control of citizens in countries, he said.
Guterres said this “requires a serious discussion”. “And one of the objectives of our road map for digital cooperation is exactly to put these things on the table,” he said.
In response to another question on if he believes China is driving an “authoritarian agenda” at the UN, Guterres said in relation to the United Nations, he can guarantee that “we are very strongly committed to make sure that the UN is a beacon of all the values related to peace, security, development, and human rights.”
“It is clear that, in human rights, there are two completely different views, and it is clear that, in human rights, there is no scope for an agreement or a common vision,” he said.