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Kazakhstan: United in Peace for World

( By Shahid Qureshi in Astana ) : The world leaders of traditional religions issued a declaration at the end of the International Congress in Astana capital of The Republic of Kazakhstan.

“We, the participants of the V Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, united by common aspiration to peace, accord and cooperation to ensure a better future of humankind, expressing gratitude to the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan His Excellency Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev for his noble initiative to host the Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, as well as to the people and government of Kazakhstan for their generosity and hospitality,

acknowledging the important role of the Congress and the contribution of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the promotion of inter-religious and inter-civilizational dialogue to build a peaceful, just and safe world in the XXI century,

welcoming global and regional initiatives seeking to promote inter-religious and intercultural harmony, strengthening dialogue of religious leaders and politicians,

noting the importance of the contribution made by world and traditional religions to the development of the human civilization through the assertion of spiritual ideals and values,

recognizing the important role of religion in building the atmosphere of mutual respect, strengthening family values and moral upbringing of the young generation,

expressing concern over mounting inter-religious and inter-ethnic tensions, political instability and military clashes in different parts of the world, condemning manifestations of all kinds of intolerance, including religious one, and radicalism, that  resulted in casualties and sufferings of civilian population, underscoring that extremism and terrorism have no relation to the true calling of all religions, confirming our commitment to the implementation of agreements in the spirit of the main theme of the V Congress – “Dialogue of religious leaders and politicians for peace and development”, have agreed are as follows:

1. to facilitate dialogue of religious leaders and politicians, international organizations and civil society to ensure stability and security, prevent and resolve conflict,

2. to call on all parties around the world involved in conflicts to cease violence, declare a truce and through negotiations reach an agreement to end hostility, protect civilians, and find a peaceful resolution to all contradiction,

3. to oppose strongly the use of force to resolve any political and religious disagreements at national and interstate levels,

4. to call on political leaders of world powers to stop the growing abyss of distrust in the world today, to end mutual sanctions and to use the mechanisms of the United Nations and other international organizations, to overcome the divisions and restore peace and security in accordance with international law,

5. to facilitate dialogue of religious leaders and politicians based on the principles of equality, justice, mutual respect and peaceful coexistence,

6. to reinforce the conventional mechanisms and elaborate new ways of interaction between spiritual and political leaders for the sake of sustainable peace and development,

7. to ensure equal respect for world and traditional religions, for what they consider sacred and for the religious sentiments of believers while acknowledging inalienable human rights to freedom of conscience, opinion, speech and choice,

8. to respect religious diversity while promoting dialogue between world and traditional religions,

9. to counter incitement to enmity, hatred and violence under the guise of pseudo-religious rhetoric,

10. to support efforts to counter extremism and terrorism, striving to root out them while displaying special vigilance to ensure that the fight against extremism and terrorism does not turn into a war against religions and their followers,

11. to develop further interaction of the Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions with the United Nations, international organizations for security and cooperation and other initiatives to foster global dialogue for peace and development,

12. to contribute to education of youth laying more emphasis on raising religious awareness, promoting religious tolerance and respect for family values,

13. to encourage media owners and publishers to cease using their media outlets, including web-based ones, as a tool to incite religious and sectarian divisions, reminding them of their moral responsibility and to advise that they spread a culture of peace, accord and respect among religions, peoples and nations,

14. to join efforts of religious and political leaders, states and societies alike to address the most pressing challenges of the modern world such as poverty, hunger, epidemic, unemployment and the effects of natural and manmade disasters,

15. to welcome the initiative of Kazakhstan to host in Astana the Regional conference on countering violent extremism,

16. to hold the VI Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in 2018 in Astana.

Astana, Republic of Kazakhstan

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