28 December 2012

Nigeria: UN to Partner Groups On Inter-Religious Dialogue

Abuja — The United Nations is set to engage Faith Based Organisations (FBOs) across the globe to promote world peace through communication, awareness raising and educational activities to enhance inter-religious dialogue and tolerance among all faiths.

This was contained in a report on the culture of peace presented to the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, in New York recently, where the member countries called for intensification of efforts to bring together people of different faiths to find solutions to common issues.

Nigeria is a member of the Inter-Agency Task force committee which listed such issues to include infant and maternal health care, HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, and pursue of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

UNESCO, the report said is currently involved in efforts to address religious conflicts in Nigeria through engagement with various sectors of the society.

It urged member states to intensify national orientation on the freedom of expression and prohibit incitement to national, racial or religious hatred by outlining relevant laws and policies. It encouraged an engagement of the youth population in all national and international activities on inter-religious dialogue and tolerance.

The committee also expressed commitment to take into account cultural dimensions in its activities and policies due to recognition that development should be considered though a cultural perspective.

"The promotion of inter-religious dialogue is interlinked with other important aspects of the work of the UN such as the promotion of a culture of peace, tolerance and non-discrimination as well as peace-building," the report read.

The report also called for protection of religious minorities under international human rights standards including the Declaration on the Elimination of all Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religious Belief.

The report based is based on contributions from UNESCO, UNDP, UNICEF, UN Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), UN High Commission for Human Rights (UNCHR) and others.

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