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Observe World Interfaith Harmony Week and International Day of Human Fraternity

Statement by Fr Anthoniraj Thumma, Secretary, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), Office for Dialogue & Desk for Ecumenism, Nellore, on observing World Interfaith Harmony Week and International Day of Human Fraternity:

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Greetings of Peace and joy to you from the CBCI – Office for Dialogue!
Kindly allow me to bring to your notice the significant days related to interreligious dialogue occurring in the coming month of February 2023:
1. World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW) – February 01-07:
The World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW) was adopted by the UN General Assembly resolution (A/RES/65/5) on 20 October 2010 declaring the first week of February each year as World Interfaith Harmony week. In the resolution, the General Assembly, pointed out that mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace and established World Interfaith Harmony Week as a way to promote harmony between all people regardless of their Faith. Recognizing the imperative need for dialogue among different Faiths and religions to enhance mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation among people, the General Assembly encouraged to spread the message of interfaith harmony and goodwill in the world’s churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and other places of worship during this week on a voluntary basis and according to their own religious traditions or convictions. To know more about it visit:
www.worldinterfaithharmonyweek.com
2. International Day of Human Fraternity (IDHF) – February 04:
The International Day of Human Fraternity was established by the United Nations General Assembly on December 21, 2020, with resolution 75/200 as a way to promote greater cultural and religious tolerance. With this resolution, the United Nations invited all its member states and other international organizations to observe the International Day of Human Fraternity annually on February 4. This day commemorates the signing of the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, also known as the Abu Dhabi declaration, on February 4, 2019, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, by Holy Father Pope Francis and Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar. The principles of compassion and human solidarity embodied in this text are the same ones that later inspired the declaration that designated February 4 as the International Day of Human Fraternity. To fulfill the aspirations of the Document on Human Fraternity, the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity (HCHF), was established in August 2019. The HCHF, which consists of both religious and civil leaders from different countries and creeds, awards the Zayed Award for Human Fraternity on the International Day of Human Fraternity. For more information visit:
https://www.forhumanfraternity.org/international-day-of-human-fraternity
We need to create awareness of World Interfaith Harmony Week (Feb. 01-07) and International Day of Human Fraternity that falls in the same week (Feb. 04) and encourage their observation. Let us make special efforts to promote inter-faith harmony, fraternal relationship and cooperation for peaceful living together during the first week of February and on Human Fraternity Day. Please also urge others to do so. You may circulate this letter to those in your circles.

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