29 June 2018, GENEVA: On 25 June 2018, the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue organized a World Conference on the theme of “Religions, Creeds and Value Systems: Joining Forces to Enhance Equal Citizenship Rights” at the United Nations Office at Geneva in collaboration with the International Catholic Migration Commission, the World Council of Churches, the Arab Thought Forum, the World Council of Religious Leaders, Bridges to Common Ground and the European Centre for Peace and Development. 

The World Conference - held under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan - was addressed by more than 35 world-renowned religious, political and lay leaders from the major regions of the world.

A message from the His Eminence Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID), was delivered by Rev. Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo, Secretary General of the International Catholic Migration Commission.

In his statement, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran emphasized the idea that all members of humanity were equal, and that equality was a fundamental value. He stated that No one, no ethnic, religious or political group can claim more rights than others because of their belonging to a particular ethnicity, religion or a political party.” However, the speaker further explained that this was not equivalent with not being able to take pride in where one came from, but rather it meant that one should abstain from feelings of arrogance and superiority in respect to others, or from claiming that they were more equal then another person or group.

Cardinal Tauran further stated that the feeling of inequality bred bitterness, frustration, and hatred and that it was extremely important to overcome these structures of injustices. According to him, although most countries “affirm that all citizens, regardless of their ethnic, religious belonging or gender, are equal in rights and duties”, the world was witnessing a rise in nationalist feeling, and religious identity had led to the discrimination, marginalisation and in some cases, the persecution of groups of people e.g. the case of Christians and Yezidis in Iraq.

The speaker formulated a number of recommendations in view of realizing equal citizenship rights:

  1. The mention of religious belonging from identity cards and other documents should be removed;
  2. Religious authorities should make their positions clear without ambiguity, because inequality, discrimination, marginalization and persecution stem from an erroneous understating either of one’s own religion or/and that of others;
  3. Believers should become allies in the struggle for securing equal citizenship for all the components of the society;
  4. Schools, scholarships, access to jobs, access to public media, as well as the construction of places of worship can be useful tools to foster equality and dialogue.


About the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue

The Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue, an organization with special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, is a think tank dedicated to the promotion of human rights through cross-cultural, religious and civilizational dialogue between the Global North and Global South, and through training of the upcoming generations of stakeholders in the Arab region. Its aim is to act as a platform for dialogue between a variety of stakeholders involved in the promotion and protection of human rights.



Blerim Mustafa

Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue 

Junior project and communications officer

Email: bmustafa@gchragd.org

Phone number: +41 (0) 22 748 27 95


Teodora Popa

Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue

Project officer

Email: tpopa@gchragd.org

Phone number: +41 (0) 22 748 27 86

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