UN Adopts resolution: Promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue

Following a contentious discussion, the General Assembly adopted two draft resolutions, on the promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue, and cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), respectively.


 

Both resolutions were adopted by recorded vote, with several delegates disputing specific paragraphs and asking for separate votes on each.

By the terms of resolution titled “Promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue, understanding and cooperation for peace”, the General Assembly condemned any advocacy of religious hatred that constituted incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence, and emphasized that everyone had the right to freedom of expression, among other matters. The representative of Pakistan, who introduced the text, said that conflicts fuelled by suspicion and mistrust had caused human suffering and economic loss.

Armenia’s representative requested a separate vote on operative paragraph 9, which welcomed the Baku Declaration, adopted at the Seventh Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations in April 2016, and encouraged relevant stakeholders to continue efforts to promote mutual understanding among different civilizations, cultures, religions and beliefs.

The Philippines’s speaker noted that the text had always been adopted unanimously in previous General Assembly sessions. By a recorded vote of 116 against to 1 in favour (Armenia), with 4 abstentions (France, Mauritius, Nigeria, Palau), the Assembly rejected the motion to divide the resolution into two separate votes, and went on to adopt the text as a whole.

Action on Draft Resolutions

The Assembly first took up a draft resolution entitled “Promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue, understanding and cooperation for peace” (document A/71/L.43), by which it would underline the importance of moderation as a value within societies for countering extremism in all its aspects. The Assembly would condemn any advocacy of religious hatred that constituted incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence, emphasize that everyone had the right to freedom of expressions and call upon Member States to consider interreligious and intercultural dialogue as an important tool in achieving peace and social stability. Further the Assembly would encourage Member States and relevant intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to further consider and carry out activities to support the Action Plan for the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022) adopted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

NABEEL MUNIR (Pakistan) introducing the text, said that it was an outcome of strong cooperation among Member States. He also recognized UNESCO’s crucial role in promoting interreligious and intercultural dialogue. Conflicts fuelled by suspicion and mistrust had caused human suffering and economic loss. The international community had also witnessed an increasing level of xenophobia, he said, calling on everyone to engage in a genuine dialogue to foster peaceful and harmonious coexistence within and among societies.

The representative of Armenia then requested a separate vote on operative paragraph 9. By the terms of that paragraph, the Assembly would welcomed the Baku Declaration, adopted at the Seventh Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations in April 2016, with the theme “Living together in inclusive societies: a challenge and a goal”, and encourage relevant stakeholders to continue efforts to promote mutual understanding among different civilizations, cultures, religions and beliefs.

The representative of Pakistan objected to that request.

The representative of Armenia said that he had made the request to flag his objection.

The representative of Pakistan described the request as unfortunate, noting that the Baku Declaration had been adopted at a United Nations event.

The representative of the Philippines said that the text had been adopted unanimously in previous General Assembly sessions.

By a recorded vote of 116 against to 1 in favour (Armenia), with 4 abstentions (France, Mauritius, Nigeria, Palau), the Assembly rejected the motion for division of the resolution into two separate votes.

The Assembly then adopted the text as a whole.