The event was part of a broader effort to raise awareness of a need to preserve the fertile diversity of Iraq’s culture to counter a rise in intolerance and hatred. It aimed to encourage respect, dialogue and cooperation as well as mutual understanding among different cultures, sects, ethnic and religious communities of Iraq in order to actively combat fear, hatred and extremism.
Representatives of the Government of Iraq and a number of diplomats, in addition to civil society activists attended the event at Baghdad’s Martyr Monument.
Addressing the audience, the Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (DSRSG) for Iraq for Political and Electoral Affairs, Mr. Gyorgy Busztin, condemned the senseless violence perpetrated by ISIL (Daesh), which he said deprives Iraqis of their basic right to security.
“Healing the wounds that ISIL has inflicted in the social fabric of Iraq can only be achieved through promoting the values of tolerance, fraternity, compassion and coexistence”, highlighted DSRSG Busztin. “Confronting ISIL is based on upholding the values that are contrary to the barbarism adopted by the group; and tolerance comes at the forefront of these tools”.
Speaking at the event, the UNESCO Representative to Iraq, Ms. Louise Haxthausen, said: “Tolerance is the appreciation of the rich diversity of Iraq’s culture. Today, this diversity is under threat and we must stand up together against those who seek to annihilate this diversity”.
Twenty-one years ago, on 16 November 1995, the Member States of UNESCO adopted the “Declaration of Principles on Tolerance” solemnly proclaiming 16 November as the International Day for Tolerance.
For more information, contact:
Mr. Dhea Subhi, Public Information Assistant, UNESCO Office for Iraq
Mr. Samir Ghattas, Director of Public Information/Spokesperson