Excerpts from UNESCO's

Declaration on the Role of Religion
in the Promotion of a Culture of Peace

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Home | Declaration on Tolerance

We, participants in the meeting, "The Contribution by Religions to the Culture of Peace," organized by UNESCO… (Barcelona, 12 to 18 December, 1994)… declare:

1. We live in a world in which isolation is no longer possible…. 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 know that religion… has an indispensable role to play….

4….neither the meaning of peace nor of religion can be reduced to a single and rigid concept….

6. Religions have… led to division, hatred, and war. Religious people have too often betrayed the high ideals they themselves have preached. We… 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 living beings.

8. Peace entails that we understand that we are all interdependent…. collectively responsible for the common good.

11. We must… cultivate a spirituality which manifests itself in action...

13. 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…

  • 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.

  • assure a truly humane education for all. We emphasize education for peace, freedom, and human rights, and religious education to promote openness and tolerance.

  • commit ourselves to a civil society which respects environmental and social justice.

  • 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. … our religions must not identify themselves with political, economic, or social powers, so as to remain free to work for justice and peace. 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

22. We will promote dialogue and harmony between and within religionsrespecting the search for truth and wisdom that is outside our religion. We will establish dialogue with all, striving for a sincere fellowship…


23. …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….We call upon the different religious and cultural traditions to join hands… and to cooperate with us….