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UN adopts resolution to preserve religious sites

UN adopts resolution to preserve religious sites

The UN General Assembly on Thursday adopted a resolution to endorse peace culture and protect religious sites by encouraging greater tolerance for all spiritual beliefs. Titled 'Promoting a Culture of Peace and Tolerance to Safeguard Religious Sites,' the resolution was introduced in the 50th General assembly meet by Saudi Arabia.

The text was cosponsored by Morocco, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, the UAE, Yemen, Sudan and Pakistan. The Draft resolution L.54 advocates on the founding principles to foster a global dialogue on the promotion of a culture of tolerance and peace at all levels.

The new resolution centers the principles in the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human rights particularly the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and the elimination of all forms of intolerance and discrimination toward ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities.

The Member States condemned any moves to obliterate or forcibly convert religious sites, while strongly deploring violence against persons on the basis of their religion or belief. It urges strengthened international efforts to refute hate speech, violence, religious prejudices, intolerance and vandalism of religious sites.

The Indian representative to UN, T. S. Tirumurti, locked horns with the Pakistani delegate Zulqarnain Chheena as he condemned the burning of a historic Hindu temple in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province in Pakistan. "This resolution cannot be a smokescreen for countries like Pakistan to hide behind," Tirumurti stated.

Meanwhile, Chheena lashed out at India citing several issues such as the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the National Register of Citizens (NRC), extrajudicial killings of innocent Kashmiris, the 2002 Gujarat riots, raising problems over 'love jihad' and the blame game on Muslims for spreading COVID19.

The adoption of the resolution comes as terrorist attacks on cultural locations have intensified. The resolution requests UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to convene an international conference involving UN representatives intended to strengthen the protection of religious sites and cultural heritage.

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