Remarks by Under-Secretary-General, Mr. Miguel Moratinos,
the High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations
at the Global Tolerance Alliance Special Edition at COP28:
“Connected in Our Common Humanity”
3 December 2023 – Dubai , UAE
Shiekh Nahyan Mubarak Al Nahyan,
Cabinet Member, Minister of Tolerance & Coexistence,
Excellencies, Eminencies, distinguished guests,
Over the years, The United Arab Emirates have provided a robust platform for dialogue about tolerance and peaceful coexistence.
The virtue of human coexistence is a legacy that the Late Sheikh Zayed is known to have instilled in the people and is embraced by the government of the United Arab Emirates.
I was truly privileged to stand on these platforms on multiple occasions and address the topic which is close to my heart and falls under my mandate.
So I warmly thank H.E. Shiekh Nahyan Mubarak Al Nahyan for inviting me to this special edition of the Global Tolerance Alliance which we inaugurated together in November 2021.
My intervention today will focus on: “Towards an Alliance of Tolerance: Living Together as One Humanity”.
It will be rather difficult to talk about tolerance and living together in peace as one humanity without acknowledging the alarming rise in religious intolerance and racial discrimination against persons and communities based on their religion, belief, ethnicity or gender.
The full-blown conflict in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the unspeakable carnage that ensued on both sides, have contributed to the disturbing surge in antisemitism, anti-Muslim hatred and Anti-Arab bigotry.
The horrific situation has divided political leaders. It has also solicited diverse and juxtaposed responses from prominent religious leaders and institutions.
What is troubling here is the lack of empathy to civilian lives which was clearly reflected in public statements and behind closed doors.
Public opinion was shaped by those statements and to a large extent by the flood of disinformation and deepfakes that contributed to fueling hate speech and bigotry on social media platforms.
All forms of hatred and discrimination based on religion, belief, ethnicity or gender is an affront to human rights.
The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations have long recognized the crucial role played by religious leaders in calling out prejudices and hate speech targeting individuals or communities based on their religion or belief, ethnicity.
We are proud of our work providing a recognized global platform for interreligious and intercultural dialogue with the aim of bridging the cultural divides and building cohesive, inclusive and peaceful societies.
This is why this event is important and timely considering the aforementioned context.
Last month, religious leaders and environmental experts convened here in the lead-up to COP28 to express shared concerns for the grave impact of climate change. They issued an Interfaith Statement which underlined their commitment to work together to advocate for protecting Mother Earth as a source of life and called upon policy makers to work collectively to heal our wounded planet and preserve the splendour of our common home.
In this context, I was delighted to participate earlier this morning in the inauguration of the Faith Pavilion commissioning a message of hope and action to COP28 leaders.
Protecting human dignity includes the preservation of our planet which we all share.
The path towards living together in peace as one humanity, is one that should be based on justice, respect for human rights and protecting human dignity.
Justice is a key word that should guide our actions particularly in the context of COP28. Climate justice.
To get there, decision-makers should muster political will and demonstrate leadership.
I sincerely hope that words like Humanity, empathy, moral obligation , tolerance and mutual respect do not ring on deaf ears.
These are moral values that should be guiding our actions for the sake of the future generations.
I say with certainty we should heed the apocalyptic warnings coming from world leaders about the dismal future of our planet if we do not take firm collective actions to curb carbon emissions.
But equally important is the call to save our humanity which is in a state of continuous degradation.
I conclude with a quote by His Holiness Pope Francis in his recent encyclical Laudate Deum (“Praise God”).
What is being asked of us is nothing other than a certain responsibility for the legacy we will leave behind,” Francis wrote, “once we pass from this world.”