20.09.2012 - ODG

On International Day of Peace, the Director-General condemns all forms of extremist violence

On 21 September, the International Day of Peace, Irina Bokova calls for the full respect of all cultures and religions in the context of the current wave of extremist violence and protests. She joins the UN Secretary General and many world leaders in condemning strongly recent acts that seek to incite hatred against the values and beliefs of other people.

'Such acts undermine all efforts to build bridges of solidarity, respect and understanding between cultures and among people,' she declares. 'In our increasingly fragile world and diverse societies, human rights and mutual understanding are the foundations for lasting peace. We need a stronger commitment by all to the principles of tolerance and respect.'

‘At the same time, there can be no justifications to infringe on human rights, to take human lives and to fuel violence for the sake of provocation and extremism,' said UNESCO  Director-General, Irina Bokova.  'Education and respect for cultures must be relentlessly upheld, to fight ignorance and intolerance -- this is the core of UNESCO's mandate and action across the world.'

Irina Bokova is bringing this message to the High Level Debate on the Culture of Peace and Non Violence organized by UNESCO, in the presence of the UN Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, the President of the UN General Assembly, Mr Vuk Jeremic, UNESCO Special Envoy for Basic and Higher Education Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser and prominent intellectuals and peace advocates, including Wole Soyinka, Elie Wiesel and Forest Whitaker.

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