– Societies must work together to build more tolerance, solidarity and peace within and between nations, said the Executive Director of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue, Ambassador Idriss Jazairy, during the 19 June international conference on “From Interfaith, Inter-Civilizational Cooperation to Human Solidarity.” He emphasized that all such societies are built on shared aspirations and not shared ethnicity.
This Geneva Centre was one of the organizers of this major event together with the Baku International Centre for Interreligious and Inter-Civilizational Cooperation and the KAICIID Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue Centre.
It gathered over 200 high-level experts from 30 countries and 10 international organizations. A special message of greeting was extended to the co-organizers of the conference and the participants by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan HE llham Aliyev during the inaugural ceremony.
As the moderator of the opening and the first plenary sessions, Ambassador Jazairy stated that although the Berlin Wall was demolished in 1989, new physical and virtual walls were being erected which were breaking up societies and multilateralism.
“It is one of the greatest paradoxes of the contemporary world that major world faiths and creeds that all preach human fraternity are being perverted to justify hatred and exclusion. The threat to peoples is not diversity, but poverty. Terrorism has no religion, denomination or nationality. It is a social cancer that affects the whole world,” he said.
To overcome this situation, Ambassador Jazairy highlighted the importance of promoting awareness of both the commonality of values and the specificities of practices of diverse faiths as expressions of enrichment through pluralism. He emphasized that all faiths supported God-given dignity to human beings and the duty of all to uphold it in particular for women and girls and vulnerable groups. Likewise, he recalled that all such faiths equally advocate the love of one’s neighbor.
The Executive Director of the Geneva Centre praised the outcome of the 25 June 2018 World Conference on religions and equal citizenship rights, the World Tolerance Summit organized in November 2018 in Dubai, the historical meeting of 4 February 2019 between the Pope and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar held in Abu Dhabi, and the Fifth World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue held in-May 2019 in Azerbaijan.
In his concluding remarks, the Geneva Centre’s Executive Director underlined that the promotion of equal citizenship rights is the silver-bullet to promote successful societies that manage diversity and stimulate empathy towards the other.
Ambassador Jazairy added: ‘Ethnicity, religious or political affiliations do not convey more rights on some groups than on others. As the US Congress affirmed already in 1782 ‘E pluribus unum.’ This diversity needs to become again the subject of cultural celebration and lay the foundation for social cohesion and the promotion of inclusive societies. There can be no sustainable pursuit of happiness in islands of prosperity surrounded by oceans of poverty.”
The Executive Director of the Geneva Centre concluded his statement by appealing to countries from the Global North and the Global South to jointly promote empathy between different cultures and civilizations and to “speak up together so that the conference message comes out loud and clear and is picked up by politicians who can make it become a reality.”
In the concluding session of the conference, the co-organizers endorsed an outcome declaration welcoming, inter alia, the adoption of the 25 June 2018 World Conference 10-Point Outcome Declaration on “Moving Towards Greater Spiritual Convergence Worldwide in Support of Equal Citizenship Rights” which was sponsored by the Geneva Centre and its partners last year.
The co-organizers likewise adopted a joint message to the President of Azerbaijan HE Ilham Aliyev and to the President of Austria HE Alexander Van der Bellen appealing to both countries to address obstacles to sustainable peace and development, promote inter-civilizational dialogue and to make this conference format replicable at regular intervals in the future.