Shusha Declaration of the Religious leaders

On May 2, religious leaders gathered in Azerbaijan’s city of Shusha for a meeting held on the sidelines of the 6th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue.
Following the meeting, the Shusha Declaration of the Religious leaders was adopted, AZERTAG informs. The Declaration reads:
“On May 1-3, 2024, within the framework of the 6th World Forum of Intercultural Dialogue, organized under the patronage of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Mr. Ilham Aliyev, a plenary meeting in Baku (the Baku Meeting) on the topic “Strengthening trust through interreligious dialogue”, and the Shusha Meeting of religious leaders, representing different countries, was held.
Participants of the Baku and Shusha meetings of leaders of world and traditional religions, and the public figures, scholars, representatives of international and religious organizations:
- emphasized an important role of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the development of inter-civilizational and interreligious cooperation, protection of national, cultural and spiritual values, and promotion of traditions of tolerance and multiculturalism at the international level,
-Highly appreciating the participation and meaningful speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Mr. Ilham Aliyev, at the opening ceremony of the 6th World Forum for Intercultural Dialogue,
-Highly appreciating special care and support provided by the Government of Azerbaijan to the meeting of religious leaders within the framework of the 6th World Forum for Intercultural Dialogue,
- emphasizing the importance of holding events dedicated to issues of interreligious dialogue and promoting the creation of environment of mutual trust on the platforms such as the “Baku Process”, implemented on the initiative of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Mr. Ilham Aliyev, the 1st and 2nd Baku summits of world religious leaders, as well as other important forums, held worldwide – the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in Astana, the Bahrain Forum on Dialogue, G20 Interfaith Forum, the UN Frame Conferences on Climate Change, the Saudi Media Forum,
- emphasizing the contribution of the Document on Human Fraternity and World Peace, signed on February 4, 2019 in Abu Dhabi by His Holiness Pope Francis and His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb, to inter-civilizational and interreligious cooperation, peace, security and human solidarity,
-expressing their deep concern about the spread of terrorism, xenophobia, religious and ethnic intolerance and violence in the world,
-expressing the need to increase joint efforts of the international community in countering the obstacles to sustainable progress, stability and security, such as aggressive propaganda, actions aimed at undermining mutual trust between followers of different religions, calls for hatred and inciting interreligious conflicts,
- condemning systematic and massive violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, and emphasizing the importance of joint action by the state, religion, science and society, especially in the field of protecting the rights of women and children,
-emphasizing the need for a unanimous common position against attempts of terrorist and extremist groups to use religious sacred values for their insidious purposes,
- reaffirming the need to protect the religious and cultural diversity of the peoples of the world as the greatest heritage of human civilization,
- expressing deep concern about the grave consequences of armed conflicts, terrorist attacks, acts of violence on religious and national grounds, accompanied along with human casualties, by looting and destruction of cultural and religious heritage, including the targeted destruction of monuments of the cultural and spiritual heritage of Azerbaijan, the policy of scorching and mining the lands, ecocide and urbicide during the period of occupation of Azerbaijani territories by Armenia,
- welcoming the restoration work carried out in the territories liberated from occupation after full restoration of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan, in addition to rebuilding and construction of new cultural and religious monuments in particular,
- supporting political processes that serve peace, reconciliation, strengthening mutual trust and coexistence in the South Caucasus region,
-underlining the statements of certain states, international and religious organizations as not conducive to stability in this region, especially the harmful trends of aggressive separatism and revanchism propagated by the Armenian Church,
- expressing the intention to hold regularly, on an ongoing basis, the interreligious events, including meetings of religious leaders in the cultural capital of Azerbaijan, Shusha, with the participation of representatives of Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu and other religious faiths representing different regions of the world, speaking from a unified position regarding the problems threatening the modern world,
- expressing wishes for success to the COP29 Climate Change Summit, and the Hosting country the Republic of Azerbaijan, including the “Faith Pavilion” and the “Summit of the Religious Leaders” within the framework of this important platform, which will be held in Baku in November 2024,
Call on the States, International, Regional, Religious, and Public organizations and religious leaders to:
- support emerging efforts aimed at immediate ending the wars and military conflicts occurring in various regions of the world at present time, and preventing the bloodshed of innocents and civilians;
- support the cooperation of the Leaders of world and traditional religions with the official and public institutions and international organizations for the sake of promoting inter-civilizational and interreligious understanding and creating an environment of peaceful coexistence by promoting the ideas of dialogue and universal humanism;
- take effective steps to prevent the misuse of the name of religion as the grounds for terrorism and crimes against humanity, discrimination, racism, harmful ideologies and propaganda inciting violence on racial, religious and ethnic grounds;
- condemn acts of vandalism against religious symbols, shrines and attributes, and counter attempts to justify such actions under the guise of democracy and freedom of speech;
- promote education of young people about common citizenship and the role of the media in these processes, with a view to their more active participation in countering the xenophobia and discrimination;
- support the protection and respectful care on the religious, cultural and ethnic diversity;
- express deep concern about the humanitarian crisis at the level of a global catastrophe as a result of the massive floating of refugees, IDPs and migrants resulted after armed conflicts, persecution and violence, and make efforts to restore their violated rights, and also eliminate the factors leading to the emergence of such situations;
- expand cooperation to prevent harmful ideologies and hate speech that incite racial, religious and ethnic violence through the media and information technologies;
- use more effectively the potential of the religions in establishing peace, global dialogue and human solidarity, as well as in solving problems related to climate change;
- call for support for the joint activity of the state, religion, science and public figures in the field of protecting human rights, especially the rights of women and children, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Shusha city, May 2, 2024.”

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