UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is denouncing a "groundswell of xenophobia, racism and intolerance" and says human rights are losing ground in the world.
The UN chief kicked off the high-level segment of the Human Rights Council by expressing alarm at "shrinking civic space," with journalists and activists targeted.
Guterres said more than 1,000 journalists and human rights defenders have been killed over the past three year.
Four environmental activists, mostly indigenous people, were killed on average every week last year, he said.
"We must do more to defend defenders and end reprisals against those who share their human rights stories," Guterres said.
Broadening the message, he also expressed concerns about economic inequality and warned that "big data" and facial-recognition technologies are being misused.
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