IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

Culture and peace: On India’s stand against ‘UN’s selectivity on religions’

7th December, 2020 International News

Context: India’s stand against ‘UN’s selectivity on religions’ gains force from its secularism

  • At the UN General Assembly discussing resolutions of the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) on the ‘Culture of Peace’, India criticised the world body for what it called “selectivity” in seeking to protect Abrahamic religions — Islam, Christianity and Judaism — over others.
  • Previous resolutions of the UNAOC had repeatedly decried the hatred against those religions — “Islamophobia, Christianophobia and anti-Semitism” — but didn’t condemn attacks on other religious groups including Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists, who have suffered terror strikes and seen their shrines destroyed in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • India said, the UNGA statement welcomed the Kartarpur Gurdwara corridor agreement between India and Pakistan, but failed to note that Pakistan’s government has taken over the management of the Sikh shrine, which it called a contravention of the agreement and a violation of Sikh beliefs.
  • India’s delegate also accused Pakistan of a “culture of hatred” against “religions in India” and fostering cross-border terrorism and said a culture of peace cannot exist until that is changed.


  • This organisation was set up in 2005 to prevent polarisation between societies and cultures and to bridge differences between them, only serves to further the theory of an inevitable “clash of civilisations” instead.
  • UNAOC issued a statement of “grave concern” over the Delhi riots in February this year that it said resulted in casualties of “mostly Muslims”.
  • India is keen to push back on the UNAOC and other UN arms, like the UN Human Rights Council, that have criticised the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

Cautious approach

  • Government must be careful about ensuring that in exposing the UN’s “selectivity” it doesn’t open a flank for a counter-charge against India.
  • The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, for example, has been criticised for offering fast-track citizenship to only a select group of religions, leaving out Muslims.
  • India cannot call for a culture of peace that stitches together an alliance of faiths, while Indian States bring laws that seek to make difficult inter-faith marriages.