United Nations: India has strongly condemned violence perpetrated in the name of religion, declaring that it "strikes at our common humanity".
India's Deputy Permanent Representative Bhagwant S Bishnoi told the Security Council on Friday: "We would like to lend our voice to condemn violence perpetrated in the name of religion and ethnicity in the Middle East and elsewhere."
He added, "Religious, cultural, ethnic and linguistic diversity is an essential and indispensable component of the social fabric of human civilisation. Persecution on the basis of this diversity strikes at our common humanity."
He was participating in a Security Council debate on "The victims of attacks and abuse on ethnic or religious grounds in the Middle East".
To combat international terrorism that is responsible for the violence against religious and ethnic groups in the Middle East, Bishnoi called for "the early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, as well as developing suitable regulatory frameworks for prosecution of terrorist outfits and personnel".
Although it has been nine years since the UN General Assembly moved to develop such a convention and set up an ad hoc committee, the effort has been deadlocked over the definition of terrorism.
Meanwhile, Bishnoi said, "The Council needs to act robustly using the instruments of law that it has at its disposal and also the information available to it to counter terrorism and maintain international peace and security."
In this context, he mentioned a Security Council resolution on foreign terrorist fighters and said it should strike at them using the legal measures it now has.
In his remarks about religious violence and persecution, Bishnoi avoided identifying the religion or ethnicity of the perpetrators or the victims. But UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon mentioned the Islamic State (IS) Sunni radical group and its affiliates as the perpetrators of the violence against minorities while others listed Christians, Yezidis, Shabaks, Turkmens, Sunnis and Shias among the victims.
Ban said that in September the UN would launch an action plan on preventing violent extremism and that he planned to form an advisory group of religious, civil, cultural, academic and business leaders on sectarian issues. He added that next month he and UN General Assembly President Sam Kutesa would invite faith leaders to a special event on promoting tolerance.