To speak of fraternity implies the union of people based on the values of tolerance, respect, dignity, solidarity and equal rights of all human beings. As a value, it implies solidarity, respect and empathy with other people.
Today, 4 February 2021, marks the First International Day of Human Fraternity, which is a call for the reduction and eradication of situations of violence, xenophobia, political and religious fanaticism and discrimination of race, gender and ideology.
This celebration is linked to the historic signing of the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Coexistence. The signatories of this document, Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, spent more than a year drafting it before signing it in Abu Dhabi on 4 February 2019. The Higher Committee for the implementation of the content of the Document on Human Fraternity was quick to bring a message from the Pope and the Grand Imam to UN Secretary-General António Guterres. Through the Committee, these two leaders proposed an annual day dedicated to Human Fraternity. It was at the end of 2019. A year later, on 21 December 2020, the UN declared 4 February as International Human Fraternity Day, starting in 2021. In adopting the initiative, the UN General Assembly invited member states, the UN system and others to observe the annual day in a manner each deems appropriate to promote interfaith and intercultural dialogue.
In recent days, Guterres has praised the Pope and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar. “We live in difficult times. We see threats coming from the pandemic, from the climate, threats from war and conflicts in different parts of the world. So it is fantastic to see the tremendous leadership of His Holiness the Pope and His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, pushing humanity to come together, in unity, in dialogue, to promote peace, to promote fraternity, and to promote the unity that is necessary to face all the challenges to defeat hatred and to ensure that human solidarity wins the battles that we are facing.”
(PHOTO: ANSA / Pope Francis receives a gift from Grand Imam Ahmed Al-Tayeb during a visit to the Vatican, Nov. 15, 2019)