20.09.2012 - ODG

UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Bahia Hariri pays visit to the Director-General calling for the need to reaffirm the full respect for Human Rights in light of the current wave of protests and violence

© Dima El Hassan

On 19 September, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and President of the Hariri Foundation for Sustainable Human Development, Bahia Hariri met with the UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, to express her deep concern at the current wave of extreme violence and protests fuelled by militant intolerance and disrespect for cultures and religions.

Ms. Bokova and Ms. Hariri discussed the urgent need to strengthen respect for human rights as the basis for new forms of dialogue and tolerance between peoples and cultures.

Bahia Hariri and Irina Bokova reaffirmed their joint commitment towards the protection and promotion of cultural expression and dialogue in line with respect for human rights, freedom of expression and freedom of belief.

“This has never been more urgent than today, at this time of uncertainty and change,” declared the Director-General. “We must use every opportunity to promote full respect for human rights as the basis for human dignity and the foundation for tolerance and understanding. No one may invoke any justifications to infringe upon human rights, nor to limit their scope.”

Bahia Hariri agreed, affirming “the mandate of UNESCO has never been as urgent as it is today – we must continue building the defences of peace in the minds of people, this means building new forms of solidarity and new bridges of dialogue everywhere, at all levels and with all generations, and especially in situations of tension.”

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