Remarks by the High Representative for UNAOC
on the online event commemorating
the International Day of Human Fraternity
5 February 2024, New York
Yesterday, February 4th marked the International Day of Human Fraternity.
Human Fraternity is the exact opposite of the hatred that we are seeing every day.
Hatred brings out the worst of humanity’s impulses.
And our humanity today is in a state of degradation.
The devastating situation in the Middle East is but one of many, where our humanity was put to the test and failed.
The International Day of Human Fraternity notes the document of Human Fraternity for “World Peace and Living Together” co-authored and launched by HH Pope Francis and His Eminence, the Grand Imam of Al-Azha Sheikh Ahmed El Tayeb in Abu Dhabi in 2019.
UNAOC has recognized the significance of this initiative and supported it since its outset.
At the core of the document is a genuine call for meaningful dialogues rather than monologues among people regardless of their diversity. There is also an emphasis on role and responsibility of religious and political leaders alike to “bring an end to wars, conflicts, and environmental destruction and the rejection of all forms of violence, discrimination and extremism in the name of religion.
Those are not mere aspirations.
There is a reason to be optimistic even amid the darkness permeating the global scene.
We see it when humanity is translated into action in distinctive ways in different corners of the world.
As such, the Zayed Award for Human Fraternity recognizes the contributions of individuals and organizations to humanity’s progress and peaceful coexistence.
In its 5th edition yesterday, the award honored Mother Nelly, or Sister Nelly León Correa from Chile who supports women detainees, bringing hope to those in prison and healing those who have just been released.
Sir Magdi Yacoub, a world-renowned Egyptian cardiothoracic surgeon and professor, was honored for his dedication to saving the lives of the needy, especially children and vulnerable populations.
The work of faith-based organizations such as Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah from Indonesia were awarded for their immeasurable humanitarian and peace-building efforts.
The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations remains committed to fostering intercultural and interreligious dialogue as a critical tool against isolation, mistrust, and confrontation.
In this context, UNAOC’ mission is especially important in addressing the root causes of polarization and radicalization and providing a counter-narrative to racism, xenophobia, antisemitism, anti-Muslim hatred and other forms of religious intolerance.
I wish to emphasize that at a time when conflicts are fuelling political tension, it must be recalled that such tensions never justify expressions of identity-based hatred.
Humanity and dignity of all must be respected.
I conclude by quoting HH Pope Francis who said “May Human Fraternity guide us beyond hatred and war”.