Uniting to Confront Violence Against Places of Worship


Uniting to Confront Violence Against Places of Worship

Remarks by Mr. Miguel Moratinos
The High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations
at the Church Center Event
‘Uniting to Confront Violence Against Places of Worship’
19 September 2019

At the outset, let me thank the US Council of Muslim Organizations, the National Council of Churches USA, Religions for Peace USA, and the World Council of Churches Ecumenical UN Office, for their invitation to participate as a guest speaker on this timely event on how we can confront violence against places of worship around the world.

As you know, exactly a week ago the UN Secretary-General officially launched the United Nations Plan to safeguard religious sites. I am very grateful to him for entrusting with developing this Plan, a challenging and enriching exercise in view of the multi-faceted challenges related to the safeguard of religious sites.

The Plan is the result of an extensive process of outreach to all major stakeholders, including UN entities, governments, religious leaders and faith-based organizations. The Plan is also mindful of the importance of a comprehensive approach to the safeguard of religious sites in which all relevant actors have a role to play. I am very thankful to everyone who provided advice and inputs during the process.

The Plan intends to be a result-oriented document that can provide better preparedness and response to possible attacks against religious sites.

The preambular section of the Plan recognizes the compelling nature of religious sources reaffirming our shared humanity and the respect for one another. In particular, the Preamble refers to:

• the Marrakesh Declaration adopted in 2016;
• the Mecca Document which stresses the values of tolerance and equity;
• the Declaration on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together signed by His Holiness Pope Francis and the His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar in February this year, which stresses mutual respect, tolerance, compassion and peace;
• and the agreement signed between the Muslim World League and the Appeal of Conscience Foundation also this year, which contains a call upon all people, nations and leaders to ensure the sanctity of religious sites.

Source: United Nations Alliance of Civilizations

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