UNITED NATIONS (AP) — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is calling for a halt to all violence against Asians and people of Asian descent, the United Nations said Monday.

U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said “the secretary-general is profoundly concerned” about the targeting of Asians 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,” Haq said. “In some countries, Asian women have been specifically targeted for attack, adding misogyny to the toxic mix of hatred.”

“We want all such violence to cease,” Haq said.

The statement by the U.N. chief’s deputy spokesman follows last Tuesday’s rampage at three Atlanta-area massage businesses that killed eight people, six of them Asian-American women.

The killings, allegedly by a man who blamed his “sexual addiction,” were a new and horrible chapter in the shameful history of Asian women being reduced to sex objects. But Asian men have also been targeted following the discovery of COVID-19 in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Haq said: “Thousands of incidents across the past year have perpetuated a centuries-long history of intolerance, stereotyping, scapegoating, exploitation and abuse.”

“The secretary-general expresses his full support for the victims and families, and stands in solidarity with all those who face racism and other assaults on their human rights,” Haq said.