Excellencies, colleagues, friends,
It is a pleasure to join you all today to celebrate the second-ever International Day of Human Fraternity. Today’s gathering is a display of our shared commitment to a peace founded on friendship, humility, and co-existence. This is human fraternity in action.
In 2020, together with Bahrain, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, we put forward the resolution that led to the establishment of the International Day of Human Fraternity. We look forward to working with everyone here, including our co-hosts Egypt and the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), and to continue building momentum on this file.
For the UAE, human fraternity begins with advancing dialogue and promoting co-existence among religions and cultures. This ethic of inclusion has allowed our society to flourish into a kaleidoscope of religions, cultures, and backgrounds. We continue to uphold these values by fostering mutual respect and ensuring robust participation by all stakeholders, including regional and international partnerships.
We are also preparing to welcome the world to the Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi, which we will inaugurate later this year. It, we hope, will be a beacon of mutual understanding and peace, and we are looking forward to visits by all of you.
Even as all of us are gathered here today to promote inclusion and dialogue, we continue to face global challenges. Some have used the COVID-19 pandemic to exploit to justify ethnic hatred and discrimination. At the same time, we continue to see a global rise in violence.
To this end, I would like to say a few words about the Houthi terrorist attacks against my country, the UAE, in January. We lost three members of our community to the heinous terrorist attack that took place and we mourn with their families and loved ones, and we are grateful for the world’s solidarity with us, including the Security Council’s unanimous condemnation of these attacks. The Houthi terrorists continue to explicitly threaten our way of life and the millions of people from around the world who chose to make the UAE their home and who visit us every year.
So I want to be very clear about this: the UAE will remain open and welcoming to all people; we will defend our way of life, and we will continue to work in partnership with our friends and allies to counter terrorism and extremism.
These challenges prove that there is still much to do to eliminate discrimination, hatred, and the ensuing violence. As we begin this new year, and particularly as a new member of the UN Security Council, the UAE will seek to redouble our efforts to secure more peaceful and inclusive societies.
And as we celebrate today the ideals of collaboration for the collective good, I want to make a few recommendations on partnerships:
First, we need to strengthen our partnership with youth and elevate them as active agents of peace in their communities. It is our responsibility to equip younger generations with the tools to deconstruct stereotypes and embrace mutual respect. The UAE welcomes the work of the UNAOC in engaging with youth to promote human solidarity and peaceful co-existence.
Second, as we enter another year of the pandemic, we should not forget the info-demic that has been exacerbated by COVID-19. Where possible, we should partner with the private sector to correct misinformation and combat disinformation, particularly when they advance hateful and discriminatory narratives. Understanding how hate speech manifests and proliferates online is critical. Partnerships with technology companies in this effort are vital, especially as the pandemic has altered the way we live and work and accelerated the digital transformation. We must not allow digital platforms to be exploited for online hate speech and incitement.
And lastly, we must continue to strengthen partnerships with religious and cultural leaders. This is particularly critical as religion is being distorted and exploited to deprive women and girls of their basic rights. Religious leaders are pillars of their communities and must be central figures in interreligious and intercultural dialogue. We must take advantage of opportunities to collaborate so we can advance more inclusive solutions, and secure broad buy-in from communities.
As we recommit to this work, we must prioritize inter- and intra-communal partnership. Only with active involvement and participation from all stakeholders can we truly make sustainable progress in the fight against hate and discrimination.
Let us all recommit to our shared humanity, our human fraternity, as we work collectively to overcome these global challenges. Together, we will push through this Decade of Action to ensure we leave no one behind. You can count on the UAE as a reliable partner in promoting peace and security, including through interfaith and interreligious dialogue.