Print Article

World MPs commit to stronger ties with religious leaders to promote peaceful coexistence

The first global Parliamentary Conference on Interfaith Dialogue: Working together for our common future is expected to conclude with a declaration that encourages interfaith dialogue and calls for all religions and beliefs to be treated equally.

The Marrakesh Communiqué calls on parliamentarians to ensure that “all religions, beliefs and faith-based organizations are treated equally and without discrimination under the law”. It encourages parliaments to be more inclusive of religions, beliefs and faith-based organizations when implementing national legislation and international commitments, and in promoting social cohesion.

The Communiqué deplores growing intolerance towards minorities or marginalized groups, including communities of religion and belief – trends which “especially impact women, who already face challenges accessing equal rights and experience diverse forms of gender-based discrimination and violence, with religion or belief sometimes serving as a pretext”.

The Conference, organized by the IPU and the Parliament of Morocco in cooperation with Religions for Peace, and with the support of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and the Mohammadia League of Religious Scholars, took place from 13 to 15 June in Marrakesh, Morocco.

It brought together hundreds of parliamentarians from some 70 countries, including dozens of Speakers and Deputy Speakers of Parliament, for three days of debate and exchange with representatives of religions, beliefs, faith-based organizations, civil society and academia.

Opening remarks of the Conference included:

“Here and there, public opinion is misled into believing that what is unfolding is a clash of religions or civilizations. In fact, and as I stressed more than twenty years ago, at the opening of the 107th Conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, what our world is witnessing today is not so much a clash of civilizations as a clash of ‘ignorances’.” King Mohammed VI of Morocco in a speech delivered by Rachid Talbi El Alami, Speaker of the Moroccan House of Representatives.

“We all understand that many are struggling to cope with rebuilding broken infrastructures, healing social divisions, and we must insist in offering spaces for interaction and dialogue in making laws and policies.” Sister Agatha O. Chikelue, Religions for Peace.

“Both parliamentarians and religion or belief representatives and leaders, through their public profiles, can be a vital bulwark against escalating hatred, extremism and violence. This requires bravery and almost certainly means standing up for the safety and well-being of those with whom you may disagree on very fundamental issues.” Nazila Ghanea, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief.

“Although MPs and religious leaders have different mandates, they share the common goal of serving their communities and promoting their well-being. They can be allies in our common cause for social justice and peaceful coexistence.” Duarte Pacheco, IPU President.

“Parliamentarians must engage meaningfully with the values and world views of their constituents, many of which are influenced by religion or belief.” Martin Chungong, IPU Secretary General.

The Conference follows the launch of the first IPU Parliamentary report on religion and belief which explores how religion and belief are expressed in parliaments, for example, through legislation, representation, parliamentary committees and mechanisms for consultation with faith-based organizations or the general public.

In the Communiqué, delegates also welcomed the invitation from the Parliament of Italy to host a global interfaith meeting in Rome in 2025.


IPU Secretariat, Geneva