Renewed commitment


Amid an escalation in military and geo-political tensions in recent years, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for forging an “alliance of peace” to contain the surge in hate speech, and racial and religious strife that have challenged humanity and plagued global relations in ways not experienced before in the human history. The call by the UN chief sounds timely in the face of the raging Russia-Ukraine conflict and West’s meddling and fueling of the strife, deteriorating Sino-US relations, India’s inhuman and violent actions in the illegally occupied Kashmir, the Palestine issue and Israel’s strong arms tactics in the Middle East, global economic meltdown and climate changes that have devastated entire regions.
The UN chief’s call points to the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, which was signed in Abu Dhabi on February 4, 2019, by Pope Francis and Sheikh Ahmed Al Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, as a model for interfaith harmony and human solidarity. On Dec 21, 2020, the UN General Assembly declared February 4 the International Day of Human Fraternity to renew the commitment to face off the challengers to humanity. The following day, February 5, is marked by Pakistan the Kashmir Solidarity Day to raise voice against India’s atrocities on Kashmiri people in the illegally occupied valley, who are denied their birth right to self-determination since partition of the sub-continent.
India has been ruthlessly using its brute military force to put down an indigenous freedom struggle, and in the process has spilled the blood of thousands of innocent Kashmiris. India’s unilateral actions to strip the valley of its special constitutional status vitiated all prospects of peace and further fuelled the freedom struggle.
Like the International Day of Human Fraternity, the Kashmir Solidarity is also marked by peace processions, rallies, conferences and seminars to highlight the plight of the suffering humanity.
By the day, hate speech and discriminatory actions in the Western countries, which are mostly aimed at inflaming religious sentiments, particularly of Muslims, are getting louder and visible. Actions like the recent burning of the Holy Quran in Sweden are protected under the “so-called” freedom of expression law, which have been sparking religious strife.
In a message, the UN chief says that the day celebrates values that “are the glue that holds our human family together”. “These values underwrite peace, yet all over the world, they are being eroded by deepening divides, widening inequalities and growing despair and by surging hate speech, sectarianism and strife,” he says and calls on the world nations to renew our commitment to stand together as one human family and build an alliance of peace, rich in diversity, equal in dignity and rights, united in solidarity.
To ensure a safe and prosperous future of the next generations, we need to renew our commitment and pursue the common cause of humanity. It is high time that the world nations shun their belligerent actions, seek equality and make peace to build a better world that is free from exploitation and injustices.