Mr. Secretary General,
Mr. Under-Secretary General, Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for convening this very important and timely meeting, and for the thoughtful and inspiring introductory remarks.
Hungary supports the new Plan of Action. The recommendations put forward in the document are valuable tools: targeted, tangible and tailored, they set out a roadmap to fight early signs of possible atrocities, radicalization, violence or violent extremism. With regard to women, I especially welcome the focus of the Plan on fighting discriminatory social norms and gender-based violence. Faith leaders should take a leading role in ending impunity, and facilitating the re-integration of victims into their communities, their families, and should take a firm stance against stigma and discrimination.
Comprehensive action requires partnership of all stakeholders, including states, religious actors, civil society, the media and education institutions. It is our shared responsibility to break down stereotypes, build trust, foster intercultural and interfaith dialogue.
In medieval times, Christian mystics and scholars like Hildegard of Bingen, Thomas Aquinas and Francis of Assisi engaged in positive dialogue with Muslims and Jews. Nicholas of Cusa espoused what he called a harmony or concordance of religions. But we also have to recognize the other side of the religion – its potential to fuel division, conflict, and intolerance amongst people. Unfortunately, religion is often used to justify discrimination against minorities, to discourage dissent, and to constrain the freedom of expression.
Hungary supports, for instance, in the Middle East, the rebuilding of churches, schools, houses of persecuted Christian families with a robust programme. We also concentrate on education, with a strong scholarship programme. Why? Because we believe that education is a basic tool of preventive diplomacy, and we commend the Secretary-General for placing prevention at the heart of his mandate.
We already supported the Fez Declaration and Plan of Action as groundbreaking documents, and we recognise Adama Dieng, United Nations Under-Secretary- General and Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide for his leadership in this process.
Prevention of atrocity crimes is the primary responsibility of States, and an overarching priority of Hungary at the UN. We are regular contributors to the Secretariat’s preventive work, committed members of the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group, and active promoters of the Security Council Code of Conduct on action against genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes. A member of the Human Rights Council, Hungary supports addressing the root causes of conflicts through mediation, soft diplomacy, the promotion and protection of human rights, freedom of religion and belief, and protection of Christian and other religious and ethnic minorities.
“There will be no peace among the nations without peace among the religions. There will be no peace among the religions without dialogue among the religions.” These famous words by a Swiss theologian and author Hans Küng capture the essence of why we are here today.
We have to work with religious leaders! Hungary welcomes the UN working with religious leaders. Tolerance and understanding among different faiths must be based on three essential ingredients: empathy, mutual respect, and trust. All the world’s major religions, with their emphasis on love, compassion, patience, tolerance and forgiveness, have these inner values.
In the spirit of this multi-faith conversation, I leave you with an excerpt from a Jainist prayer for peace:
A weapon, howsoever powerful it may be,
can laways be superseded by a superior one;
but no weapon can, however,
be superior to non-violence and love.