H.E. Mr. Miguel Angel Moratinos
The High-Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations
Launch of the Global Tolerance Alliance
16 November 2021
Your Excellency, Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan,
Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I wish to start by congratulating the government of the United Arab Emirates for a remarkable EXPO.
The motto of the EXPO is very telling: “Connecting Minds…Creating the Future”. And today, as we celebrate the International Day of Tolerance, we also need not only to connect minds, but also connect hearts.
It is great pleasure and a privilege to be here with you as we witness together the launch of this important and timely initiative “The Global Tolerance Alliance”. Allow me at the outset to thank H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, the Minister of Tolerance and Co-existence for providing me with the opportunity.
It is no coincidence, that the Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence took the lead in advancing tolerance, mutual understanding, and peaceful co-existence since the ministry under the leadership of H.E. Sheikh Al Nahayan is after all the leading entity in the United Arab Emirates charged with the responsibility of overseeing the National Tolerance Program.
The International Day of Tolerance reminds us of the Charter of the founding fathers of the United Nations, which refers to “We the Peoples” of the United Nations as “determined to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as neighbors”. Those universal values are humanistic values inherent to all faiths. UNAOC derives its motto from these values, “Many Culture. One Humanity.“.
The new paradigm of tolerance is mutual respect, humility and compassion. These are the building blocks to building inclusive and peaceful societies.
Looking around this room, I see many familiar faces of distinguished religious leaders and faith actors, I wish to emphasize that all major world religions espouse tolerance and peaceful coexistence in a spirit of shared humanity. It is our responsibility to resist and reject those who falsely and maliciously invoke religion to build misconceptions, fuel division, and spread fear and hatred. I recall the United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/73/296 that calls for strengthened international efforts to foster a global dialogue on the promotion of a culture of tolerance and peace at all levels, based on respect for human rights and the diversity of religions and beliefs, emphasizing that States, regional organizations, national human rights institutions, non-governmental organizations, religious bodies, the media and civil society as a whole have an essential role to play in such efforts. The new platform that the Global Tolerance Alliance provides, is a positive step towards that end.
We are facing many complex challenges in our world today. A disturbing rise in xenophobia, hate speech racism, and discrimination. Those challenges existed before the pandemic which only helped in exacerbating them.
We are also witnessing a simultaneous growth in religious and ethnic intolerance. The fear of “the other” – of those who are viewed as foreign or simply different – stimulates the rise of populism, hatred and marginalization.
A worrying phenomenon of spreading antisemitism, Anti-Muslim hatred, and other forms of discrimination continue to gain ground in many parts of the world, East and West, North and South.
We, all of us present in this room and the global community have the responsibility to unequivocally condemn and stand up against such manifestations of intolerance and hatred based on religion or belief targeting individuals belonging to religious communities and religious minorities around the world. We should collectively deplore all acts of violence and terrorist attacks against places of worship that are motivated by religious hatred and related acts of intolerance. Attacks on these places of worship are some of the most blatant examples of a lack of respect for each other and for our common humanity. Against this pattern, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Antonio Guterres in 2019 tasked my office to develop an all-UN Plan of Action to Safeguard Religious Sites in consultation with Member States, faith-actors, religious leaders, and other stakeholders. The Plan which was launched in September 2019 was conceived as an action-oriented framework for action with suggested recommendations to support Member States and relevant stakeholders in their efforts to prevent possible attacks against religious sites and to be better prepared to safeguard religious sites and worshippers.
Concluding, the launch of the Global Tolerance Initiative during the Tolerance and Inclusivity week is yet another testimony of the virtue of human coexistence that the late Sheikh Zayed is known to have instilled in the people of the United Arab Emirates, one which the government continues to embrace and strengthen every day. I stand ready together with my office to support your work and collaborate with you every step of the way.
Let us all be inspired by today’s celebration of the International Day of Tolerance by demonstrating mutual respect, compassion, and humility not just today but every day.