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DIALOGUE AMONG CIVILISATIONS AND CULTURES

Resolution adopted without a vote by the 103rd Inter-Parliamentary Conference
(Amman, 5 May 2000)


The 103rd Inter-Parliamentary Conference,

Reaffirming the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,

Welcoming the fact that the United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed the year 2001 "United Nations Year for Dialogue among Civilizations",

Welcoming also the decision of the UN Secretary-General to appoint a personal representative for the United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilizations,

Recalling UNESCO's essential role in international cooperation in the cultural field, and noting with satisfaction its important contribution to the implementation of the objectives of the United Nations Year for Dialogue among Civilizations, notably through its intercultural projects,

Recalling that, according to its Statutes, one of the purposes of the Inter-Parliamentary Union is to work for peace and cooperation among peoples,

Recalling further that the Inter-Parliamentary Union is the focal point for worldwide parliamentary dialogue,

Recognising the significant role that the Inter-Parliamentary Union can play in enhancing interaction between societies and peoples and promoting dialogue among different civilisations,

Reaffirming that all human rights are universal, indivisible and interdependent,

Conscious that every civilisation and culture is unique and irreplaceable,

that all cultures and civilisations are part of the common legacy of humankind,

Noting that recurring problems generated by conflict, such as humanitarian crises, violations of human rights and refugee outflows; and global issues, including poverty, international organised crime, terrorism and worldwide environmental problems, pose real threats to every human being and believing that tolerance and respect of other cultures are prerequisites for lasting peace,

Stressing that a focus on dialogue between civilisations and cultures must not be invoked to justify discriminatory laws and practices within cultures and civilisations, especially regarding women, and must not be used to pursue human rights less diligently,

Further stressing that respect for differences and tolerance of others in society, regardless of their sex, race, religion or political affiliation, are as important as respect and tolerance for other cultures and civilisations,

Convinced that dialogue among different cultures and civilisations within States as well as between States - can contribute to making their common values, including universal human rights, more easily discernible,

Recognising that positive and mutually beneficial interaction among civilisations has contributed throughout human history to the peaceful coexistence of nations and to the cultural enrichment of people,

Asserting that, just as biodiversity enriches our natural environment and is essential for its protection, cultural diversity is a treasure of humanity and a prerequisite for human development,

Emphasising the important role of dialogue throughout society: individuals, governments, non-governmental organisations, and national and international organisations,

Convinced that education can contribute to a better understanding of other cultures and civilisations,

Noting that tolerance and respect for diversity facilitate the full enjoyment of all universal rights by all individuals,

Recalling Article 27 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which establishes that "everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits",

Recognising that international cultural and scientific exchange is conducive to instilling in different cultures and civilisations mutual respect and trust, and a willingness to engage in dialogue with each other,

Conscious that the technological expansion of the media, in particular the Internet, is bringing different cultures and civilisations ever closer, and that while this increases the possibility of dialogue, it can also be perceived as a threat to cultural diversity,

Recalling that the Stockholm Conference on Cultural Policies for Development stated that "cultural goods and services should be fully recognised and treated as not being like other forms of merchandise",

Acknowledging that the opportunities offered by globalisation might be enhanced by taking appropriate account of the diversity of cultures and civilisations,

Conscious that the social changes accompanying globalisation entail risks as well as opportunities, and are therefore a source of concern or fear for some,

Noting that in a globalised society joint action by the world community depends on understanding which transcends differences rooted in civilisations and cultures,

Emphasising that dialogue among cultures and civilisations should foster understanding of shared values and observance of universal human rights,

  1. Resolves to promote dialogue among civilisations and cultures;

  2. Invites parliaments to take effective measures to maintain and promote cultural diversity at the national and international level and, more particularly, to encourage the fulfilment of all cultures present on their territory, inter alia by enacting laws providing for freedom of expression and creation, pluralism of the media, the participation of all women and men in cultural and political life and the protection of minority cultures;

  3. Calls on parliaments to strive for open and broad-based intercultural dialogue which recognises the importance of intellectual, artistic and creative contributions;

  4. Calls on parliaments to ensure freedom for all to participate in the cultural and political life of the community;

  5. Calls on parliaments to urge their governments to work for free access to education for all, as well as equal access for girls and boys, especially in technology and communication media;

  6. Calls on States to ensure that training and education help promote mutual respect and trust between cultures and civilisations, to include courses on intercultural dialogue in training and education programmes and to encourage citizens to learn several languages;

  7. Invites national parliaments and parliamentarians to take an active part in the programmes of the United Nations and UNESCO for the dialogue among civilisations and cultures and to encourage their governments to contribute to such programmes;

  8. Invites States to take action to promote diversity while ensuring commonality of values and respect for fundamental human rights, and to devise policies that protect minority groups and laws that guarantee the full exercise of their fundamental rights;

  9. Urges all States that have not yet done so urgently to ratify or accede to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and comply unreservedly with the consequent obligations, and to ratify the CEDAW Optional Protocol, and calls on all States to eliminate traditional practices that are harmful to women and children, violence, sexual abuse and exploitation;

  10. Calls on governments to acknowledge that the human rights of children are frequently breached, resulting in their physical and sexual abuse, and to take practical measures to combat such abuse, and proposes the establishment of an inter-parliamentary network under the auspices of the Inter-Parliamentary Union to combat child abuse;

  11. Calls on governments to seek assistance from the UN and other relevant international bodies in promoting and protecting all human rights for everyone;

  12. Calls on States to remove obstacles to direct access to the new media with a view to guaranteeing equal information opportunities for all while striving to introduce mechanisms which will protect children;

  13. Proposes that development cooperation programmes include more cultural projects, such as initiatives to stimulate burgeoning cultural industries in developing countries, and underscores the need to take fuller account of the cultural identity of the beneficiaries when preparing and implementing these programmes;

  14. Invites States to facilitate the negotiation of new international trade agreements and instruments which promote, protect and preserve cultural and linguistic diversity by allowing countries to support their cultural industries and products, and emphasises that cultural goods and services should be recognised as being unlike other forms of merchandise and treated as such;

  15. Calls on States to exploit the technological potential of the new media to promote understanding between cultures and civilisations;

  16. Calls on national parliaments, governments, all members of civil society, national and international institutions to participate actively in dialogue between cultures and civilisations;

  17. Fully supports the appeal of the United Nations General Assembly for the organisation of appropriate cultural, education and social programmes during the Year for Dialogue among Civilizations, and recommends that the bodies concerned do not confine themselves to awareness-building activities aimed at promoting the idea of dialogue among civilisations but rather take the opportunity of the United Nations Year to launch or encourage practical dialogues between cultures or civilisations at the local, national, regional or world level which can continue beyond the year 2001;

  18. Calls on governments to respond positively to offers of assistance, in particular when UN Special Rapporteurs and working groups and other organisations or individuals request visits to their countries, with a view to engaging in further meaningful dialogue;

  19. Urges parliaments and parliamentarians:

    (a) To assume their responsibility for achieving the goals of a policy of dialogue among civilisations and cultures, in particular through the adoption of legislative measures and the allocation of the required budgetary resources;

    (b) To establish a parliamentary dialogue among civilisations and cultures, within the framework of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and through such initiatives as the founding of inter-parliamentary friendship groups;

  20. Stresses the need for States to ensure that their national curricula at all levels of education, and more particularly at the early stages, provide students and pupils with opportunities to acquire knowledge of and respect for all cultures, religions and civilisations and promote a general culture of peace and tolerance, and stresses the need to give particular attention to the elimination of sexist stereotyping and sexist language, especially from school textbooks;

  21. Recommends that the Secretariat of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and national parliaments, in coordination with the United Nations Secretariat, UNESCO and other relevant organisations, prepare the contribution of IPU to the programmes of the year 2001, the United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilizations.

Note: you can download a complete electronic version of the brochure "Results of the 103rd Conference and related meetings of the Inter-Parliamentary Union" in PDF format (file size approximately 410K). This version requires Adobe Acrobat Reader, which you can download free of charge.Get Acrobat Reader


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