20 November 2013

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

People of Faith Can Pave Way for Tolerance, Solidarity among All Groups,

Secretary-General Says in Message to Religions for Peace Assembly


Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message, delivered by Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, to the Religions for Peace World Assembly, held in Vienna from 20 to 22 November:

I am pleased to send greetings to the Religions for Peace World Assembly.  I thank you for more than four decades of cooperation with the United Nations.

Our partnership has produced results across the international agenda, from engaging religious communities on combating HIV and AIDS, to assisting refugees, to helping faith communities build bridges for peace.  These and other achievements demonstrate how religious communities and leaders are making a meaningful contribution to helping the United Nations meet its fundamental goals of peace, human rights and development.

I am pleased that many of you have shown a commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which has core values in common with great world religions.  Your work to mobilize communities to support suffering people contributes to our shared development goals.  And the power of religions to promote reconciliation through forgiveness can significantly advance our work to address the root causes of conflicts and achieve lasting peace.

While I applaud the tremendous progress achieved thanks to religions and people of faith, we must acknowledge that there remain disturbing conflicts within and among religious communities.  These divides threaten the shared security that we together are working to achieve.

I call on religious communities, religious leaders and people of faith to confront hostility towards “the other” as an obstacle to our shared security, to reaffirm our common humanity, and to pave the way for greater tolerance and solidarity among all groups.

For its part, the United Nations will continue to support such efforts through its various organizations and agencies, particularly the Alliance of Civilizations, which was established to counter the forces of polarization and improve understanding among cultures and religions.

Together, we can realize the enormous potential of religions to foster true peace.  With this goal in mind, I wish you great success.

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For information media • not an official record