Geneva – 2 October 2018 – The Chairman of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue, HE Dr. Hanif Hassan Ali Al Qassim, praised Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence in expressing concern about the current rise of extremist violence. Dr. Al Qassim made this statement to honour the legacy of the great Statesman of the Global South that is observed annually on 2 October on the occasion of the International Day of Non-Violence.

In the context of the Arab region, the Geneva Centre’s Chairman deplored in particular the rise of violence in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and Palestine owing to extremist violence and foreign interventions. He said that the proliferation of crisis and conflict have the potential to divide religious and ethnic groups in multicultural societies fostering hate, intolerance and animosity between religions and denominations. With more than 10 million people forcibly displaced from their home societies, the Arab region is witnessing one of the world’s worst humanitarian calamities, he remarked.

To address these ominous trends, the Geneva Centre’s Chairman recalled that non-violence and lasting peace are key to secure the long-term stability of the Arab region. Dr. Al Qassim noted that military victory over extremist violence in the Arab region will only bring a “short-term solution as building lasting and sustainable peace requires addressing inter alia the root-causes of conflict, injustice, inequality, poverty and lack of social development.”

He therefore stated that societies in the Arab region gripped by violence must seek reconciliation, dialogue, respect for human rights and non-violence. “We must foster dialogue, strengthen empowerment, scale-up faith engagement involving religious leaders, enhance religious teaching, and include mediation and peace building in addressing intolerance and the rise of violence,” said Dr. Al Qassim.

In this connection, he quoted Mahatma Gandhi who said that “Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent then the one derived from fear of punishment.” He therefore asserted that the commemoration of the International Day of Non-Violence is a timely opportunity for world society to commemorate the non-violent ideology of a world Statesman who believed in promoting peace and justice through acts of kindness and compassion. “Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence Satyagraha remains a source of guidance for bringing peace to the Arab region,” Dr. Al Qassim concluded.

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