16 May 2018, GENEVA – The Chairman of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue H. E. Dr. Hanif Hassan Ali Al Qassim appealed to societies worldwide to embrace models of equal citizenship and to harness the collective energy of religions, creeds and value-systems in the pursuit of equal citizenship rights.
Dr. Al Qassim made this appeal on the occasion of the 2018 International Day of Living Together in Peace which is observed annually on 16 May 2018. On 15 January 2018, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 72/130 declaring 16 May the International Day of Living Together in Peace.
The Geneva Centre’s Chairman said that the “promotion of equal citizenship rights is the silver-bullet to eliminate the fear of the Other and to prevent potential social and/or religious tension or conflict that prevail within multicultural societies and across diverse nations. Inclusive citizenship both at the national and at the global level enables diversity to become a force for social progress.”
In the current context, Dr. Al Qassim noted that the “common good” is threatened by a “pincer movement of two extremes: violent extremism originating in the Middle East and xenophobic populism rearing its head in advanced countries.” He noted that “these trends undermine national, regional and global citizenship models” and contribute to the spread of “religious intolerance, bigotry and fear of the Other.”
“Discrimination against, and marginalization of, people associated with specific religions hinder the realization of social harmony affecting adversely the prospects and promises of diversity,” noted Dr. Al Qassim.
To address these ominous trends, he called upon religious leaders and international decision-makers “to harness their collective energy in addressing religious intolerance in the pursuit of equal citizenship rights and in the promotion of global citizenship.”
The Geneva Centre’s Chairman noted that there must be “a process to enhance dialogue between major religious faiths, beliefs and/or other value systems, and to create an open space for interfaith and intercultural dialogue to foster social cohesion.”
In order to contribute to this noble goal, Dr. Al Qassim stated that the Geneva Centre will organize a World Conference on 25 June 2018 in Geneva on the theme of “Religions, Creeds and Other Value Systems: Joining Forces to Enhance Equal Citizenship Rights.” This international conference – he noted – aims at uniting the voices of religious and lay leaders in a joint effort to promote equal citizenship rights. It will be held under the Patronage of HRH Prince El Hassan Bin Talal of Jordan.
“The conference will seek to chart a more inclusive understanding and forward-looking discussion of equal citizenship rights informed by religious pluralism and to unite the voices of religious and lay-leaders in their joint efforts to promote and advance equal citizenship rights. The conference will seek to capitalize on the convergence between religions, creeds and value systems to mitigate the marginalization of minorities worldwide.
“Re-discovering the convergence of religions, creeds and value-systems in the pursuit of equal citizenship rights is needed more than ever to address the rise of ominous trends threatening peace, tolerance and co-existence.
“The spread of equal citizenship rights is the gateway to the concept of global citizenship, a gateway in other words, to world peace,” concluded Dr. Al Qassim in his statement.