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President Kutesa opens High-Level Thematic Debate on Promoting Tolerance and Reconciliation

Thursday, 23rd April 2015
President Kutesa with UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, and the UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, with world faith leaders. Photo/Martin Dixon
The President of the General Assembly (PGA), H.E. Mr. Sam Kahamba Kutesa, opened at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, a two-day High-Level Thematic Debate on "Promoting Tolerance and Reconciliation: Fostering Peaceful, Inclusive Societies and Countering Violent Extremism.ˇ± The event was convened by the PGA in conjunction with the United Nations Secretary-General, H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, and the United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser.

Opening the High-Level event, President Kutesa noted that around the world, people, communities and nations are grappling with a disquieting rise of radicalization and violent extremism, fuelled by identity-based conflicts and cultural and religious tensions. He added that with troubling frequency, violent attacks are being carried out against innocent civilians in places of worship, museums, supermarkets, schools and historical sites. These abhorrent crimes claim the lives of men, women and children indiscriminately, leaving devastated families and communities in their wake.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that violent extremism is marked by villains against victims. But stressing that "we should also remember the heroesˇ±, the Secretary-General stated that "throughout history, there have been brave individuals who transcended their identity to help others in danger simply because we are part of the same human family. These heroes risked and even gave their own lives for what they knew was right. And in the process, they inspired others to take up the cause.ˇ± Mr. Ban urged participants to confront the worst, and be inspired by the best. "In the name of our shared humanity, we must unite with courage and resolveˇ±, he stated.