NEW YORK – 21 December 2020 – The United Nations General Assembly has adopted by consensus a resolution proclaiming 4 February as “International Day for Human Fraternity.” The initiative was introduced by the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and as a result the international community will observe International Day for Human Fraternity annually beginning in 2021. 

Prior to the adoption of the resolution, H.E. Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the UAE to the UN, told the UN General Assembly: “In recent years, the world has been witnessing a dramatic increase in violence, hate speech, xenophobia, religious bigotry, and other forms of discrimination. In the face of such transnational threats, we need to support initiatives that encourage solidarity and unity among people in the spirit of “human fraternity”. The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt aspire, through this initiative, to celebrate together our shared values of acceptance, openness, empathy, and love towards other human beings.”

Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam, Secretary-General of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity (HCHF), affirmed that the adoption of the UN resolution proclaiming 4 February as International Day of Human Fraternity is a testament to HCHF’s achievements as well as further international recognition of the historic Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together,  signed in Abu Dhabi on 4 February 2019 by Al Azhar’s Grand Imam Ahmad Al-Tayyib and His Holiness Pope Francis of the Catholic Church. 

Abdelsalam added that human fraternity has become the responsibility of the world:  “We thank the United Arab Emirates, who through the UAE Mission to the United Nations, made this new achievement in the service of humanity.” 

The resolution acknowledges specifically the meeting between His Holiness Pope Francis and the His Eminence Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad al-Tayyib, on 4 February 2019 in Abu Dhabi, which resulted in the signing of the “Document on Human fraternity for World Peace and Living Together.” 

The UN resolution also expresses deep concern for acts that advocate religious hatred and undermine the spirit of tolerance, especially as the world confronts the unprecedented crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It also highlights the need for a global response to the pandemic built upon unity, solidarity, and renewed multilateral cooperation. 

The resolution further recognizes the valuable contributions of people of all religions and beliefs to humanity, and underlines the role of education in promoting tolerance and eliminating discrimination based on religion or belief.  It commends all international, regional, national, and local initiatives and efforts by religious leaders to promote interreligious and intercultural dialogue.

The resolution was co-sponsored by 34 UN Member States.