By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora
MANILA – The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) recently adopted by consensus a resolution sponsored by the Philippines and Pakistan to promote inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue.
The Promotion of Inter-religious and Inter-cultural dialogue, Understanding and Cooperation for Peace resolution, passed on Dec. 18, would strengthen mechanisms and actions for the promotion of a constructive dialogue across the cultural and religious divide.
The Department of Foreign Affairs, in its readout dated Dec. 22, said it will also call on member states and political and religious leaders to promote inclusion and unity to combat racism, xenophobia, hate speech, violence and discrimination.
“With your invaluable support, we are hopeful that the United Nations General Assembly will reinforce its enduring pledge to foster and retain a Culture of Peace — a commitment that is more essential now than ever,” Philippine Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN Antonio Lagdameo and Pakistan Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN Munir Akram said in their joint letter to the UN members before the adoption.
The resolution underlines the important role of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the contributions of the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) in promoting interreligious and intercultural dialogue at all levels.
Since 2004, the Philippines and Pakistan have spearheaded the negotiations and adoption of the resolution under the General Assembly’s culture of peace agenda.
The Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs sees the unanimous adoption of the resolution as a significant development in the wake of the alarming rise in religious intolerance and racism, particularly Islamophobia, across the globe.
“Pakistan will continue to lead efforts to promote interreligious and intercultural dialogue, understanding and cooperation for peace and the values of peaceful co-existence and inter-faith and cultural harmony,” it said. (PNA)