NEW YORK: The UN General Assembly Monday passed a resolution, by consensus, on promoting interreligious and intercultural dialogue to advance a culture of peace and non-violence based on education, tolerance, dialogue and cooperation in the world.
Sponsored by Pakistan and the Philippines, the text reaffirmed the solemn commitment of all states to fulfil their obligations to promote universal respect for, and protection of, all human rights and fundamental freedoms, in accordance with the United Nations Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
First introduced in 2004 as a response to the fatal theory of the ‘Clash of Civilizations’ that followed the 9/11 attacks, the resolution condemned any advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to violence or discrimination. It also underlines the importance of interreligious and intercultural dialogue as a valuable tool for promoting social cohesion and peace and development in the world.
Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi welcomed the adoption of the resolution by consensus, saying it reflected the international community’s support for Pakistan’s efforts to combat extremism, bigotry and prejudice.
“This resolution provides a blueprint for promoting interreligious and intercultural dialogue in the context of global efforts to achieve peace and stability, and full realisation of the sustainable development agenda,” she said in an interview with APP.
Under the terms of the resolution, the assembly encouraged member states to consider, as and where appropriate, initiatives that identify areas for practical action in all sectors and levels of society for the promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue, tolerance, understanding and cooperation.
States were invited to promote reconciliation to help ensure durable peace and sustained development, including through reconciliatory measures and acts of service.
In the interview, Maleeha Lodhi also said that the resolution also aims to strengthen mechanisms for the promotion of genuine and constructive dialogue across the cultural and religious divide. “It highlights the need for peaceful coexistence as well as the obligation to denounce the rise in xenophobia and intolerance,” the Pakistani envoy added.
Also, under the text, the 193-member assembly welcomed the declarations adopted by the Global Forums of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and invites relevant stakeholders to continue their efforts to promote mutual understanding among different civilizations, cultures, religions and beliefs. It also underlines the importance of moderation as a value within societies for countering violent extremism as, and when, conducive to terrorism, while respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms.