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“Interreligious and Intrareligious Dialogue are Integral to Prevent and Counter Incitement to Violence”: KAICIID Deputy Secretary General at United Nations Ministerial Event

14 July 2017

Speaking at a side event during the high level segment of the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, KAICIID Deputy Secretary General Ambassador Alvaro Albacete called on the international community to place religious communities at the heart of their efforts to combat hate speech and incitement to violence.

Ambassador Albacete represents the Vienna-based International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID), whose mandate is to promote the use of dialogue globally to prevent and resolve conflict to enhance understanding and cooperation.

He was speaking at an event entitled “Implementing the Plan of Action for Religious Leaders and Actors to Prevent Incitement to Violence that Could Lead to Atrocity Crime”, jointly organized by the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations, the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, and the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on Religion and Development.

The Plan of Action mentioned in the title was developed over a two year consultative process, known as the Fez process, which was led by the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect (OGPRtoP) together with partners such as KAICIID, the World Council of Churches and others.

At the end of the Fez process, which engaged more than 200 religious actors from 77 countries, the Plan of Action was launched on 14 July 2017 by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The Plan of Action consists of a series of actions that religious leaders and other actors, who are essential players in atrocity crimes prevention, can take to curb incitement to violence.

KAICIID has been a partner in the Fez process since its inception, and recently concluded a Memorandum of Understanding with the UN Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect to work together on the implementation of the Plan of Action.

In his speech, Ambassador Albacete pointed out that KAICIID was already engaged in implementation the Plan of Action through its existing programmes.

“KAICIID is best positioned to foster the implementation by taking specific actions to prevent and counter incitement to violence, enhancing education and capacity building, strengthening engagement with regional and international partners, as well as establishing networks of religious leaders.

However, above all, KAICIID sees fostering inter and intra-religious dialogue as a vital part of implementing all thematic areas of the Global Action Plan, and the Centre as a dedicated and leading partner in fostering interreligious and intra-religious dialogue. “

The panel was moderated by Dr. Simon Adams, Executive Director, Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. H.E. Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States of the Holy See delivered the opening remarks.

Speaking alongside Ambassador Albacete were Mr. Adama Dieng, Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser of the UN Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, Mr. Achim Steiner, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, Ms. Azza Karam, UNFPA Senior Adviser on Culture and Chair of IATF on Religion and Development, Rev. Kyoichi Sugino, Deputy Secretary General Religions for Peace International, Hind Kabawat, Director of Interfaith Peacebuilding at the Center for World Religions Diplomacy & Conflict Resolution, George Mason University, Fr. James Oyet Latansio, General Secretary of the South Sudan Council of Churches, Sadhvi Saraswati, Global Interfaith WASH Alliance and Director of Divine SAkhti Foundation, Ehpraim Isaac, Director of the Institute of Semitic Studies, PrincetonUniversity and and the Chair of the Board of the Ethiopian Peace and Development Center.