Delegates Say Texts Critical Considering Intensifying Violent Extremism around Globe, Jerusalem Capital Issue

The General Assembly adopted a consensus resolution today declaring 16 May as the “International Day of Living Together in Peace”, while a second text — titled “Moderation” — was adopted by a recorded vote, with several delegates expressing concerns over its contents.

Lire l’article depuis sa source

The draft resolution titled, “International Day of Living Together in Peace” (document A/72/L.26) — which was adopted without a vote — was introduced at the meeting’s outset by the representative of Algeria.  He said its aim was to promote peace through harmonious habitation with no distinction between nationality, gender, language or religion, and that it called on Member States to promote reconciliation and ensure peace and sustainable development.  By its terms, the Assembly would also designate 16 May as the annual International Day of Living Together in Peace.

The second draft resolution, titled, “Moderation” (document A/72/L.21) was adopted by a recorded vote of 135 in favour to two against (Israel, United States) with no abstentions.  By the terms of that text — also introduced by its main sponsor, the representative of Malaysia — the Assembly called upon the international community to promote moderation as a value underpinning peace, security and development.  Among other things, the organ also called on the international community to support the “Global Movement of Moderates” initiative, developed by the Government of Malaysia, as a common platform to amplify the voices of moderation over those of violent extremism.

While many speakers throughout the subsequent debate voiced support for the values of peace, tolerance, inclusivity and moderation, several expressed concern that the resolution on “Moderation” contained language that might be used to suppress or curtail the right of freedom of thought or expression.  Still others described both texts as critical in light of intensifying violent extremism around the globe, and against the backdrop of the United States recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

In that vein, Qatar’s representative said today’s meeting was taking place concurrently with critical developments in Jerusalem, and warned all States to avoid any measures that ran counter to the noble goal of building sustainable peace in the Middle East.  Rejecting any attempts to recognize Al‑Quds — the Arabic name for the city of Jerusalem — as the capital of Israel, she said potentially dangerous consequences could result from such statements.  Qatar regarded peace in a comprehensive way — namely, as “not just the absence of violence” — and therefore supported efforts aimed at preventive diplomacy and mediation, especially in the Middle East.

Egypt’s delegate, outlining his country’s longstanding efforts to confront wars and armed conflicts, agreed that peace required an interactive and participatory process, and a spirit of understanding and cooperation.  “Humanity needs, now more than ever, to eradicate all forms of intolerance and discrimination,” he stressed, emphasizing that current conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa must not distract from the overall goals of peace, tolerance, respect for national sovereignty, and the protection and promotion of human rights.

Echoing those sentiments, the representative of Cuba said there could be no peace without full respect for the sovereignty and self‑determination of individuals and States.  Voicing concern about the deep fault line that divided human society into “the rich and the poor”, she said States’ policies must focus on removing the threat of war and committing to the peaceful settlement of disputes.  It was also essential to condemn all acts and methods of terrorism, including that by States.

Following the vote on the resolution, the representative of the United States — which had cast a vote against the text — rejected its references to the Global Movement of Moderates initiative, as well as the fact that the resolution failed to distinguish between “extremism” and “violent extremism”.  While the United States universally rejected the latter, he expressed concern that nations or individuals might construe the resolution’s language to curtail freedoms of expression or belief.

Canada’s representative, explaining her delegation’s vote in favour of the text, said her country was deeply committed to countering violent extremism and promoting pluralism, diversity and human rights.  While interventions aimed at countering violent extremism — including those that fell under the concept of “moderation” — were context-specific, they must always respect human rights.  “It is a difficult balance, but one which we are committed to working with all our partners to preserve,” she said.

Before the Assembly for that discussion were two reports of the Secretary‑General, titled “Promotion of a culture of peace and interreligious and intercultural dialogue, understanding and cooperation for peace” (document A/72/488) and “A world against violence and violent extremism” (document A/72/621).

Also speaking were representatives of Brunei Darussalam (on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Libya, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, China, Morocco, Syria, Iran, Maldives, Bangladesh, and Brazil.

The representatives of Israel and Syria spoke in exercise of the right of reply.

The Assembly will reconvene today at 3 p.m. to take up issues related to the “Strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the United Nations, including special economic assistance” and “Assistance to the Palestinian people”, among others.

Introduction of Draft Resolutions

SABRI BOUKADOUM (Algeria) introduced draft resolution titled “International Day of Living Together in Peace” (document A/72/L.26), saying that deliberations on the text were carried out in a constructive and transparent manner.  He also noted that Algeria was situated at the crossroads of myriad religions, traditions and languages.  The draft had 13 preambular and 7 operational paragraphs.  Its aim was to promote living in peace through harmonious habitation with no distinction between nationality, gender, language or religion.  The resolution called on Member States to promote reconciliation to help ensure peace and sustainable development by working with community faith leaders, civil society and other relevant actors.  The text was a model of cooperation among Member States.  He expressed hope that the draft would be adopted by consensus.

By terms of the text, the Assembly would decide to declare 16 May the International Day of Living Together in Peace and would underline that the Day constituted a means of regularly mobilizing efforts of the international community to promote peace, tolerance, inclusion, understanding and solidarity, he said.  It would also invite all Member States, organizations of the United Nations system and civil society, including non‑governmental organizations, to observe the International Day.  It would further request the Secretary‑General to bring the present resolution to the attention of all Member States, the United Nations and civil society.  It would also stress that the cost of all activities that may arise from the implementation of the present resolution should be met from voluntary contributions.

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you.