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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

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Vienna, Austria, 20 November 2013 - Secretary-General's message to Religions for Peace World Assembly, 20-22 November [delivered by Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, the United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations]

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 toward “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.


Statements on 20 November 2013