02 May 2019, BAKU, AZERBAIJAN – The Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue attended the opening session of the Fifth World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue held in Baku under the motto “Building dialogue into action against discrimination, inequality and violent conflict.”
The first day of the Forum was marked with an inspiring inaugural address delivered by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan HE Ilham Aliyev in the presence of Eminent Dignitaries and high-level government officials.
Following the inaugural address of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, opening speeches were delivered by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations representative Miguel Moratinos, the Assistant Director General for Social and Human Sciences of UNESCO Nada Al-Nashif, the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Yousef Al Othaimeen, the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe Gabriella Battaini and the Director General of ISESCO Abdulaziz Othman Alwaijri.
The delegation of the Geneva Centre likewise attended the High-Level Ministerial Panel on “Mobilizing Intercultural Dialogue for Concrete Transformative Action” that was chaired by the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan Abulfas Garayev and attended by Ministers from more than 30 countries.
The Executive Director of the Geneva Centre Ambassador Idriss Jazairy attended the Ministerial Panel and was the only NGO representative to be invited by the Organizing Committee of the Baku Forum to deliver a statement at the Highl-Level Ministerial Panel.
In his speech, Ambassador Jazairy stated that the “regions of the world go through cycles of convergence propitious for peace and through cycles of divergence which beget international tension and violence.” In this connection, he highlighted that the rise of populism in the West and violent extremism in the Arab region constitute a threat to the long-term stability of diverse and multicultural societies.
“Faiths are being misused to justify crime or hatred when their true interpretation revolves around worship of the Creator and love towards His Creatures,” Ambassador Jazairy underlined.
In light of this worrying context, the Geneva Centre’s Executive Director informed the participants that the Geneva Centre organized with the support of the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, on 25 June 2018 a World Conference on religions and equal citizenship rights, held under the Patronage of HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan, that adopted a Ten-Point Declaration entitled “Moving Towards Greater Spiritual Convergence Worldwide in Support of Equal Citizenship Rights.”
The said declaration, he highlighted, appeals to decision makers to unite in a common endeavour for the preservation of dignity, to contribute to the realization of human rights and to promote the effective enjoyment of equal citizenship rights.
“The Declaration gives concrete expression to the ideal of restoring the aspiration for a world living in peace and harmony and to promote equal citizenship rights which is the antidote to a poisoning of minds and hearts,” Ambassador Jazairy emphasized.
The Geneva Centre’s Executive Director mentioned that the World Conference Outcome Declaration was endorsed by the European Centre for Peace and Development – UN University for Peace in a resolution adopted on 26 October 2018 in Belgrade.
He added that the Joint Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, signed on 4 February 2019 by His Holiness Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar His Eminence Sheikh Ahmad Al-Tayyib expresses almost identically the fundamental values and messages of the World Conference Outcome Declaration..
In light of this growing consensus on the need to harness the collective energy of faiths in the pursuit of equal citizenship rights, the Geneva Centre’s Executive Director appealed to the Ministers to “endorse the Outcome Declaration and to translate its principles into national policies fostering peaceful, just and inclusive societies.”
The Minister of Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan thanked Ambassador Jazairy for his proposal and invited the Geneva Centre to further discuss this initiative in consultation with representatives from the Ministry of Culture during the conference.
Link to Ambassador Jazairy's speech - UN WEB LIVE TV (2:31:48 - 2:40:22): http://webtv.un.org/»/watch/mobilizing-intercultural-dialogue-for-concrete-transformative-action-high-level-ministerial-panel-baku-2-3-may-2019/6032222052001/?term=&lan=original&page=1?term