International Day of Human Fraternity 2021 will be observed on Thursday, 4 February 2021. This year, it is the first time in history that the world will observe International Day of Human Fraternity as directed by the United Nations.
Fraternity means brotherhood or a belief in co-existence. Thus, all the member states of the UN are directed by the largest intergovernmental organization (United Nations) to observe the day in their favorite manner to promote interreligious harmony, friendship, cooperation, and acceptance.
International Day of Human Fraternity Theme 2021
Theme 2021 for International Day of Human Fraternity is “Human Fraternity in Action” which means that humanity has decided to disperse and renounce all kinds of religious bigotry and xenophobia. Thus, the global community has agreed upon developing a new global culture where no one is hated or discriminated against based on his/her caste, creed, skin color, religion, or something like that.
After the Holocaust, it is the greatest action against xenophobia, religious bigotry, and hate for “others”. First-ever in history, the global community united on the platform of the UN has decided that every religious community would be treated equally.
The United Nations’ Resolution on International Day of Human Fraternity
On 21st December 2020, The United Nations General Assembly passed the document A/75/L.52 in its 75th Session declaring 4 February as International Day of Human Fraternity. The draft resolution was presented in the UNGA on 15th December which reads the following:
“The General Assembly, Reaffirming the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in particular the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, ….,
Decides to proclaim 4 February as the International Day of Human Fraternity, to be observed each year beginning on 2021.”
Purpose of the International Day of Human Fraternity
The purpose of International Day of Human Fraternity is to tell the world that everyone is free to choose a religious or irreligious belief in his/her life and no one else has the right to discriminate, hate, or molest a person due to his certain religious or irreligious association.
Another purpose of the Human Fraternity Day is to spread awareness across the world that all the religious communities are obliged to respect each other if they want the world to prosper peacefully and if they don’t want another great war.
Islam and Christianity are the two largest religions in the world. Therefore, the United Nations wants the people of these two religions to respect each other and promote fraternity (brotherhood and cooperation).
Additionally, the global leadership united at the UN platform want people to respect all the other religions of the world so that the world would not have to face anarchy due to certain religious association of people.
Historical Background of International Day of Human Fraternity
Some important developments in the recent past led to the recognition of 4th February as International Day of Human Fraternity. On 4th February 2019, leaders from the two largest religions Pope Francis (from Christianity) and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad al-Tayyib met in Abu Dhabi to promote interreligious peace and cooperation. They signed the document titled “Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together” which marked the start of crusades against religious intolerance.
On 22 November 2019, Pope Francis met the representatives of all the known religions in Bangkok, Thailand. During the meeting, all the religious leaders agreed that the world needs religious harmony, empathy, cooperation, and acceptance to survive and grow. Therefore, they decided that they would convince and motivate the people of all the religious groups to respect others’ faith and religion.
On 20th August 2019, the Higher Committee for Human Fraternity was established comprising representatives from all the major religions of the world. The committee would work in collaboration with all the religions and would encourage the religious communities to work for peace rather than wars.
On 4th December 2019, representatives of the Higher Committee for Human Fraternity met the UN Secretary-General António Guterres informing him about the proposal of Pope Francis, the Grand Imam, and the other religious leaders who demanded that 4th February should be declared International Day of Human Fraternity.
On 15 December 2020, the UAE Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh forwarded the resolution to the UN General Assembly. On 21st December, the UNGA adopted the resolution unanimously declaring 4th February as International Day of Human Fraternity.
Which countries proposed draft resolution for International Day of Human Fraternity?
The United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the Kingdom of Bahrain, and Burkina Faso were among the countries which proposed the draft resolution to declare 4th February as International Day of Human Fraternity.
Before the Assembly passed the resolution, Ambassador and Permanent Member of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations Lana Nusseibeh addressed the UNGA saying: “In recent years, the world has been witnessing a dramatic increase in violence, hate speech, xenophobia, religious bigotry, and other forms of discrimination. In the face of such transnational threats, we need to support initiatives that encourage solidarity and unity among people in the spirit of “human fraternity”.
After this, the other countries also approved the validity of the proposal and adopted the resolution A/75/L.52 declaring 4th February as International Day of Human Fraternity.
What is Fratelli Tutti?
On 3 October 2020, Pope Francis published his famous booklet titled Fratelli Tutti which means that all (the peoples) are brothers. Through this book, Pope Francis encouraged people of all religious groups to join hands with each other to counter the COVID-19 pandemic.
International Day of Human Fraternity in the UAE
Since the draft resolution for International Day of Human Fraternity was presented by the UAE in the UN General Assembly, the UAE has decided to celebrate the International Day of Human Fraternity extraordinarily. According to Dubai PR Network dot com, the Minister for Tolerance and Co-existence Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan has announced that the Festival of Human Fraternity would be held in the UAE to make International Day of Human Fraternity memorable.
The festival of Human Fraternity Day would start from 4th February this year and would long for 4 days until 8th February 2021. Arab leaders would be encouraged to promote interreligious harmony, friendship, diversity, goodness towards others, equality, peace, and acceptance during the festival.
This festival of Humans Fraternity Day has become more important for the UAE in the wake of the bilateral relationship that the country has established with Israel in the previous year. Thousands of Israelis have started travelling to the UAE after the two countries have set up their relations.
Supposedly, the UAE would counter expected religious prejudice and rivalry that might emerge in the country due to the arrival of Israelis in the Muslim Arab country where they were prohibited for decades.