Culture and peace
Mains: G.S. I, II Culture and Society, Social Issues, Issues of international importance
- In a strong statement at the UN General Assembly discussing resolutions of the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) on the ‘Culture of Peace’, India criticised the world body for what it called “selectivity” in seeking to protect Abrahamic religions – Islam, Christianity and Judaism – over others.
- Previous resolutions of the UNAOC dating back to 2006 had repeatedly decried the hatred against those religions – “Islamophobia, Christianophobhia and anti-Semitism” – but didn’t condemn attacks on other religious groups including Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists, who have suffered terror strikes and seem their shrines destroyed in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
- India said, the UNGA statement welcomed the Kartarpur Gurudwara corridor agreement between India and Pakistan, but failed to note that Pakistan’s government has taken over the management of the Sikh shrine, which it called a contravention of the agreement and a violation of Sikh beliefs.
- India also accused Pakistan of a “culture of hatred” against religions in India and fostering cross-border terrorism and said a culture of peace cannot exist until that is changed.
- Indian statement said, the UN’s selectivity under the aegis of UNAOC, an organisation that was set up in 2005 to prevent polarisation between societies and cultures and to bridge differences between them, only serves to further the theory of an inevitable “clash of civilisations” instead.
- India’s concerns over the UN resolutions that portray only three religions as victims of religious hatred are completely valid, and it is important that they are broadened to include every community that faces religion based violence.
- New Delhi has been concerned by an increase in intrusive language from the UN bodies concerned as well, given that UNAOC issued a statement of “grave concern” over the Delhi riots that it said resulted in causalities of “mostly muslims”.
- India is keen to push back on the UNAOC and the other UN arms, like UN Human Rights Council, that have criticised the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
- As it seems to do all of this, the government must be careful about ensuring that in exposing the UN’s selectivity it doesn’t open a flank for a counter-charge against India.
- India cannot call for a culture of peace that stitches together an alliance of faiths, while Indian States bring laws that seek to make difficult interfaith marriages.
- In the larger analysis, the force of India’s argument against the UN’s selective resolutions and non-inclusive language as well as the international efforts of adversaries such as Pakistan remains it’s own secular credentials enshrined in the Constitution and it’s pluralistic ethos.
- The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) was established in 2005, as the political initiative of Mr. Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General and co-sponsored by the Governments of Spain and Turkey.
- A High-Level Group of experts was formed by Mr. Annan to explore the roots of polarization between societies and cultures today, and to recommend a practical programme of action to address this issue.
- The Report of the High-Level Group provided analysis and put forward practical recommendations that form the basis for the implementation plan of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations.
- The Alliance maintains a global network of partners including states, international and regional organizations, civil society groups, foundations, and the private sector to improve cross-cultural relations between diverse nations and communities.
- In its 2006 report, the High-Level Group identified four priority areas for action: Education, Youth, Migration, Media.
Explain the role of UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC).