International Day of Human Fraternity was celebrated February 4, 2021, for the first time. In a resolution on December 21, 2020, the UN General Assembly proclaimed this new UN International Day, expressing “deep concern at those acts that advocate religious hatred and thereby undermine the spirit of tolerance and respect for diversity, especially at a time when the world confronts the unprecedented crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In creating this day, the General Assembly intended to rally “a global response based on unity, solidarity and renewed multilateral cooperation.” It was incorporated into World Interfaith Harmony Week, established in 2010 to be celebrated the first week of February each year to further harmony among people everywhere regardless of their faith, culture, ethnicity, region or continent.
In his International Day of Human Fraternity message, UN Secretary-General António Guterres encouraged the world community to “commit to do more to promote cultural and religious tolerance, understanding and dialogue.”
Perhaps more than ever, the UN stressed, International Day of Human Fraternity emphasizes the need to “recognize the valuable contribution of people of all religions, or beliefs, to humanity and the contribution that dialogue among all religious groups can make toward an improved awareness and understanding of the common values shared by all humankind.”
The UN unanimously adopted World Interfaith Harmony Week on November 23, 2010, shortly after King Abdullah II of Jordan first proposed the idea to the world body. In designating the week, the UN recognized that “the moral imperatives of all religions, convictions and beliefs call for peace, tolerance and mutual understanding.”
The UN also acknowledged a range of global and regional efforts to foster mutual understanding and interfaith harmony, including “A Common Word,” launched in 2007, that calls for Christian and Muslim leaders to engage in dialogue based on two principles common to their respective faiths—love of God and love of one’s neighbors. “Without peace and justice between these two religious communities, there can be no meaningful peace in the world,” says the Common Word website.
The UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), in partnership with the Permanent Missions of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, to the UN and the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity, held a webcast February 4, which included videoed remarks by Mr. Guterres, by the High Representative of UNAOC, the Permanent Representatives of Egypt and the UAE and the Secretary-General of the Higher
Committee of Human Fraternity.
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