On the occasion of the International Day of Human Fraternity, observed on Saturday 4 February 2023, the United Nations Secretary-General called for renewed commitment to forge an “alliance of peace” amid a surge in hate speech, sectarianism and strife. The International Day of Human Fraternity celebrates the values that “are the glue that hold our human family together” – compassion, religious understanding, and mutual respect, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said.
“These values underwrite peace, yet all over the world, they are being eroded by deepening divides, widening inequalities and growing despair and by surging hate speech, sectarianism and strife,” he continued.
Examples of religious extremism and intolerance exist in all societies and among all faiths, he said, adding that it is “the duty of religious leaders everywhere to prevent instrumentalization of hatred and defuse extremism amidst their followers.”
Model for interfaith harmony
The Secretary-General pointed to a model for interfaith harmony and human solidarity: the declaration “Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together”, co-authored by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed El Tayeb, in 2019.
“Let us all take inspiration and renew our commitment to stand together as one human family,” he said. “Together, let us build an alliance of peace, rich in diversity, equal in dignity and rights, united in solidarity.”
Concern about religious hatred
In 2021, UN General Assembly resolution adopted a resolution designating 4 February as the International Day of Human Fraternity. Co-sponsored by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, the resolution expressed deep concern at acts advocating religious hatred, especially at a time when the world confronted the COVID-19 pandemic and its related crises.
In adopting the resolution, Member States also recognized the valuable contribution of people of all religions or beliefs to humanity and the contribution that dialogue among all religious groups can make towards an improved awareness and understanding of the common values shared by all humankind.
Document for Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together
“The Document for Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, signed by the Pope of the Catholic Church, Francesco, and by Shaykh Ahmed al-Tayyeb, imam of the Al-Azhar mosque, along with the journey of the Pope to the United Arab Emirates, is an unprecedented event, at an institutional level, in the history of relations between Christians and Muslims. [..]The general impression is that a new phase is opening, under many aspects, with regards to the relations between these two religions. This phase seems to be moving toward the recognition of the legitimacy, and providence, of the diversity of the Revelations, of theologies, of religions, of languages, and of religious communities. Diversities are no longer being seen as a call to conquest or proselytism, or as an excuse for a mere facade of tolerance, but rather recognised as an opportunity for the exercise and practice of fraternity that represents a vocation contained in God’s plan of creation”. See the summary of this document
Thereafter you can find the proceedings of this meeting and Fraternity for knowledge and cooperation the commentary on the official document, which has been signed by Muslim religious leaders, celebrities and representatives from all around the world.