DECLARATION ON THE ROLE OF RELIGION IN THE
PROMOTION OF A CULTURE OF PEACE
THE CONTRIBUTION BY RELIGIONS TO THE
CULTURE OF PEACE
We, participants in the meeting, "The Contribution by Religions to
the Culture of Peace," organized by UNESCO and the Centre UNESCO de
Catalunya, which took place in Barcelona from 12 to 18 December, 1994,
Deeply concerned with the present situation of the world, such as
increasing armed conflicts and violence, poverty, social injustice, and
structures of oppression;
Recognizing that religion is important in human life;
1. We live in a world in which isolation is no longer possible. We live in
a time of unprecedented mobility of peoples and intermingling of cultures.
We are all interdependent and share an inescapable responsibility for
the well-being of the entire world.
2. We face a crisis which could bring about the suicide of the human
species or bring us a new awakening and a new hope. We believe that
peace is possible. We know that religion is not the sole remedy for all the
ills of humanity, but it has an indispensable role to play in this most
3. We are aware of the world's cultural and religious diversity. Each
culture represents a universe in itself and yet it is not closed. Cultures
give religions their language, and religions offer ultimate meaning to each culture.
Unless we recognize pluralism and respect diversity, no peace is possible.
We strive for the harmony which is at the very core of peace.
4. We understand that culture is a way of seeing the world and living in
it. It also means the cultivation of those values and forms of life which
reflect the world-views of each culture. Therefore neither the meaning of
peace nor of religion can be reduced to a single and rigid concept, just as
the range of human experience cannot be conveyed by a single language.
5. For some cultures, religion is a way of life, permeating every human
activity. For others it represents the highest aspirations of human
existence. In still others, religions are institutions that claim to carry
a message of salvation.
6. Religions have contributed to the peace of the world, but they have also
led to division, hatred, and war. Religious people have too often betrayed
the high ideals they themselves have preached. We feel obliged to call for
sincere acts of repentance and mutual forgiveness, both personally and
collectively, to one another, to humanity in general, and to Earth and all
7. Peace implies that love, compassion, human dignity, and justice are
8. Peace entails that we understand that we are all interdependent and
related to one another.
We are all individually and collectively responsible for the common good,
including the well-being of future generations.
9. Peace demands that we respect Earth and all forms of life, especially
human life. Our ethical awareness requires setting limits to technology. We
should direct our efforts towards eliminating consumerism and improving the
quality of life.
10. Peace is a journey -- a never ending process.
11. We must be at peace with ourselves; we strive to achieve inner peace
through personal reflection and spiritual growth, and to cultivate a
spirituality which manifests itself in action.
12. We commit ourselves to support and strengthen the home and family
as the nursery of peace.
In homes and families, communities, nations, and the world:
13. We commit ourselves to resolve or transform conflicts without using
violence, and to prevent them through education and the pursuit of justice.
14. We commit ourselves to work towards a reduction in the scandalous
economic differences between human groups and other forms of violence and
threats to peace, such as waste of resources, extreme poverty, racism, all
types of terrorism, lack of caring, corruption, and crime.
15. We commit ourselves to overcome all forms of discrimination,
colonialism, exploitation, and domination and to promote institutions based
on shared responsibility and participation. Human rights, including
religious freedom and the rights of minorities, must be respected.
16. We commit ourselves to assure a truly humane education for all. We
emphasize education for peace, freedom, and human rights, and religious
education to Promote openness and tolerance.
17. We commit ourselves to a civil society which respects environmental and
social justice. This process begins locally and continues to national and
18. We commit ourselves to work towards a world without weapons and to
dismantle the industry of war.
19. Our communities of faith have a responsibility to encourage conduct
imbued with wisdom, compassion, sharing, charity, solidarity, and love;
inspiring one and all to choose the path of freedom and responsibility.
Religions must be a source of helpful energy.
20. We will remain mindful that our religions must not identify themselves
with political, economic, or social powers, so as to remain free to work
for justice and peace. We will not forget that confessional political
regimes may do serious harm to religious values as well as to society. We
should distinguish fanaticism from religious zeal.
21. We will favor peace by countering the tendencies of individuals and
communities to assume or even to teach that they are inherently superior to
others. We recognize and praise the non-violent peacemakers. We disown
killing in the name of religion.
22. We will promote dialogue and harmony between and within religions,
recognizing and respecting the search for truth and wisdom that is outside
our religion, We will establish dialogue with all, striving for a sincere
fellowship on our earthly pilgrimage.
23. Grounded in our faith, we will build a culture of peace based on
non-violence, tolerance, dialogue, mutual understanding, and justice. We
call upon the institutions of our civil society, the United Nations System,
governments, governmental and non-governmental organizations, corporations,
and the mass media, to strengthen their commitments to peace and to listen
to the cries of the victims and the dispossessed. We call upon the
different religious and cultural traditions to join hands together in this
effort, and to cooperate with us in spreading the message of peace.
Signed by the chairpersons of the session
JOAQUIM XICOY, President of the Parliament of Catalonia
FEDERICO MAYOR, Director-General of UNESCO
And the following participants
MASAO ABE, Kyoto School of Zenbudism, SALEHA ABEDIN, Institute for Muslim
Minoritary Affairs, ANTOINE ABI-CHANEM, Centre de Recherche sur les Droits
de l'Homme et de la Famille, Byblos, Liban, JOAN ALBAIGÉS, Centre UNESCO de
Catalunya, AHMED SIDQI AL-DAJANI, Arab Organisation for Human and Peace,
EHUD BANDEL, Rabbis for Human Rights, JO BECKER, Fellowship of
Reconciliation, JOAN BOTAM, Centre Ecumènic de Catalunya,
ELISE BOULDING, International Peace Research Assembly,
HANS BÜHLER, Pädagogische Hochschule Weingarten,
JOAN CARRERA, Bishop of Barcelona, MARIANI DIMARANAN, Task Force Detainees
of the Philippines, ALI ELSAMMAN, Association pour le Dialogue
International Islamo-Chretien, JOAN ESTRUCH, Centre de Recerca de
Sociologia ANGELO FERNANDES, Archbishop Emeritus of New Delhi, VICENÇ
FISAS, Centre UNESCO de Catalunya, SIMONE FUOSS, Pädagogische
Hochschule Weingarten, GANYONGA 111, Fon of Bali, GÜNTHER GEBHARDT,
World Conference on Religion and Peace, MAHA GHOSANANDA,
Dhammayietra Centre for Peace and non Violence,
LAMAR GIBBLE, World Council of Churches, DANIEL GOMEZ IBAÑEZ, Peace
Council, LINDA GROFF, California State University, SOM RAJ GUPTA, Kirori
Mal College, University of Delhi, TENZIN GYATSO, H.H. the Dalai Lama, DAG
HEDIN, Life and Peace Institute, SOHAIL INAYATULLAH, World Futures Studies
Federation, JOSEPH JOBLIN, Pontificia Universita Gregoriana, ALEXANDER
KOJA, Moscow Patriarchate. Interreligious Relations, MIRTA LOURENÇO,
UNESCO, Culture of Peace Programme, FÈLIX MARTI, Centre UNESCO de
Catalunya, GERALD MISCHE, Global Education Associates,
PATRICIA MISCHE, Global Education Associates, MAXIMILIAN MIZZI,
Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue, MAURICIO MOLINA, Pax Romana,
MARY MWINGIRA, Pax Romana, RAIMON PANIKKAR, Fundació Vivarium,
LOUIS-EDMOND PETTITI, Cour Européenne des Droits de l'Homme, JOSEPH
RAJKUMAR, Pax Romana, HELGA RIEDL, Plum Village, KARL RIEDL, Plum Village,
SAMDHONG RINPOCHE, Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, BAIDYANATH
SARASWATI, Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, JACOBUS SCHONEVELD,
International Council of Christians and Jews, PATARAPORN SIRIKANCHANA, The
World Fellowship of Buddhist, KISHORE SINGH, UNESCO, Human Rights Unit,
PAUL SMOKER, International Peace Research Association, MARIE-LAURE SOREL,
Association pour le Dialogue International Islamo-Chretien, JANUSZ
SYMONIDES, UNESCO Human Rights, Democracy and Peace Division, JOHN B.
TAYLOR, World Conference on Religion and Peace, WAYNE TEASDALE, Council for
a Parliament of the World's Religions, SUSANNA VILLARAN, instituto Barlomé
de las Casas, ANTE VUCKOVIC, Theology College in Makarska, ANDRZEJ
WIELOWIEYSKI, Member of the Polish Parliament, MAHMOUD ZAKZOUK,
Faculty of Theology of Al-Azhar University
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