UN official expresses deep concern at ‘overall rise in instances of discrimination, intolerance and violence’
The high representative of the UN’s Alliance of Civilizations on Sunday “unequivocally” condemned the “the vile act” of burning a copy of the Quran, Islam’s holy book, by a Swedish-Danish right-wing extremist in the Swedish capital, Stockholm.
“While the High Representative stresses the importance of upholding the freedom of expression as a fundamental human right, he also emphasizes that the act of Quran-burning, amounts to an expression of hatred towards Muslims,” said Nihal Saad, a spokesperson for Miguel Angel Moratinos, the high representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), in a statement.
“It is disrespectful and insulting to the adherents of Islam and should not be conflated with freedom of expression,” the statement added.
Moratinos’ statement came after Rasmus Paludan, the leader of the Stram Kurs (Hard Line) Party, under the protection of police and with permission from the government, burned a copy of the holy Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm on Saturday, prompting wide condemnation from the Arab and Islamic worlds.
Recalling the UN General Assembly Resolution A/Res/75/258 of Jan. 26, 2021, the high representative reaffirmed that “the exercise of freedom of expression carries with it duties and responsibilities in accordance with article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” the statement added.
According to the statement, Moratinos “expresses his deep concern at the overall rise in instances of discrimination, intolerance and violence, regardless of the actors, directed against members of many religious and other communities in various parts of the world, including cases motivated by Islamophobia, antisemitism and Christianophobia and prejudices against persons of other religions or beliefs.”
He also stressed the importance of “mutual respect” to build and promote “just, inclusive and peaceful societies rooted in human rights and dignity for all.”
The high representative also recalled the UN’s Plans of Action to Safeguard Religious Sites which is led by the Alliance of Civilizations to provide “an overarching framework and a set of recommendations including strengthening religious pluralism and promoting intercultural and interreligious dialogue, mutual respect and understanding.”
Leave a Reply