Ban speaks out against use of language or actions to divide peoples
“Our world is more connected, but less united. Building trust has never been more important,” Mr, Ban said in a speech to the ministerial meeting of the Group of Friends of the Alliance of Civilizations, an initiative launched in 2005 by Spain and Turkey under United Nations auspices to promote better cross-cultural relations worldwide.
“Dialogue is not an end in itself – it is also crucial to economic, social and human development.
The Alliance strives to advance the stability, the security, the peace that is central for sustained economic growth,” Mr Ban told the gathering at UN Headquarters in New York.
He said that small groups can inflict significant damage by their actions and pronouncements, with the possibility of the harm being multiplied by loose language in politics and other spheres of life.
“Let us stand against those who seek to demonize ‘the other’. And let us reaffirm that our common interest can be lit by the flames of burning books – it is illuminated by reason and justice, by empathy and understanding,” the Secretary-General said.
He strongly condemned remarks by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the General Assembly’s ongoing high-level debate yesterday, when he questioned the cause of the 11 September 2001 terror attacks in the United States.
“It is unacceptable for the platform of the General Assembly of the United Nations to be misused in this way,” the Secretary-General said. “I stand against the politics of polarization. I reject the language of hate,” he added.
He acknowledged the “outstanding leadership” of Spain and Turkey in the Alliance and urged more countries to assume a greater role and provide increased support.
“This is important, not only for the mission of the Alliance, but for all those who believe in our common humanity and our common future,” Mr. Ban said.