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Unity key to overcome challenges: Sheikh Nahyan Filed on February 4, 2021
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In his keynote speech, Sheikh Nahyan said the spirit of human fraternity was evident as a global principle more than ever before because of the pandemic.

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, on Thursday called upon nations to work together as a united force in the spirit of human fraternity in a bid to eradicate the Covid-19 pandemic. He was speaking on the occasion of the International Day of Human Fraternity.

In his keynote speech, Sheikh Nahyan said the spirit of human fraternity was evident as a global principle more than ever before because of the pandemic.

“Years from now, when we reflect on this time, I’m hopeful that we will see that it was human fraternity that sustained us, provided us with the energy, dedication, and resolve to persevere and to succeed,” he said.

“In the spirit of human fraternity, I call upon all of you to work together to promote the inclusion of all regions of the world in the progress of humanity. We must work together to eradicate religious and cultural misunderstandings.”

The virtual conference, which is part of the five-day celebrations of the human fraternity festival, was organised by the Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence in cooperation with the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity. The festival, which concludes on February 8, aims to support and mark the recently declared United Nations (UN) announcement of the International Day of Human Fraternity that was recognised by the UN last year.

The UN honour came in appreciation of an historic event that took place in Abu Dhabi on February 4, 2019. The Human Fraternity Document was signed by Pope Francis, Head of the Roman Catholic Church, and Dr Ahmed Al Tayyeb, Grand Imam of Al Azhar mosque in Cairo, Egypt, under the patronage of Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice- President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on this day two years ago.

“I call upon this forum to help make human fraternity as an area of innovation and initiative and a cause for joint action and effective participation of all for the benefit of all,” said Sheikh Nahyan.

“I call upon you to join with us in the UAE in demonstrating that pluralism within diverse human societies is a positive and creative force for development and stability everywhere. We look forward to working together to emphasise our strong common belief in the power of human fraternity to shape our future and to help solve many of the great global challenges. Together, we will take up the banner of peace and preservation of human progress in our local and global communities,” he added.

Sheikh Nahyan said that the Abu Dhabi Declaration on Human Fraternity is an open invitation for everyone to commit themselves, “to work strenuously to spread the culture of tolerance and of living together in peace, putting an end to wars, environmental decay and moral and cultural decline”.

Meanwhile, Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation, said the country has elevated the role of women and girls. She said that when people from all walks of life were empowered, a nation achieved its full potential as a civil society.

“Women are instrumental and irreplaceable in leading efforts to encourage dialogue, reconciliation and confront the big threat of extremism. We’re in a unique position to spread messages of tolerance and inclusion in our communities and serve as role models not only for other young women and girls, but also for the society as a whole,” she said.

“We, therefore, welcome whole-heartedly, the emphasis of the Abu Dhabi Declaration on Human Fraternity on protecting women’s rights. We call upon the international community to address the gaps and scenarios that could prevent women from actively contributing to the maintenance of international peace and security. We simply cannot exclude all those who can change the world for the better,” she said.

Al Hashimy also noted that the UAE has made significant efforts to promote tolerance and peaceful co-existence around the world. “The Abu Dhabi Declaration on Human Fraternity serves as a guide for the future generations to advance the core values of acceptance, openness and empathy towards one another. In the UAE, we’ve embraced the principle of inclusivity from our inception as a nation for centuries. More than 200 nationalities live here in peace and harmony and call the UAE their home,” she added.

An opportune timing for the event: Unesco official

Dr Xing Qu, deputy director-general, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), told the Global Human Fraternity forum that the event was being held at an opportune time, as humanity was at the crossroads because of the pandemic.

“The challenges are many and are not limited to the sad global loss of life due to Covid-19 which has topped two million so far, but it reveals the weaknesses of our societies and the intensification of structural variances among nations and their people,” he said.

“At the height of the epidemic, 91 per cent of students around the world, or 1.5 billion learners, were unable to go to school and 11m girls may never return to school, as well as economic, social and sexual inequalities have escalated, and women, who are often employed in unstable or informal sectors, bear the consequences of the economic crisis. Discrimination and racism are on the upswing, fuelling hate speech against cultural and religious communities.”

He warned that extremism and violence undermine the culture of coexistence through misinterpretations of facts and doctrines. This is further compounded by the challenges of climate change which threatens the present and future of our planet.

“Since a year ago, we took a step in the right direction for world peace and for living together in harmony, and from that point onwards we witnessed the value of the human fraternity, which reminds us of the importance of dialogue and mutual understanding to reduce economic, social, political and environmental problems,” he added.


Ismail Sebugwaawo

A professional journalist originating from Kampala, Uganda, Ismail is a happy father with strong attachment to family and great values for humanity. He has practiced journalism in UAE for the past 13 years, covering the country's parliament (FNC) and crimes, including Abu Dhabi Police, public prosecution and courts. He also reports about important issues in education, public health and the environment, with a keen interest in human interest stories. When out of reporting duties, he serves the Ugandan community in Abu Dhabi as he wants to see his countrymen happy. Exercising and reading are part of his free time.

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