Foreign Minister of Austria Michael Spindelegger said while speaking about the freedom of religion at the opening session of the 5th Global UN Alliance of Civilizations Forum (UNAOC) that My first point revolves around the question of freedom of religion.
Living in a context of growing diversity and pluralism presents a multi-fold challenge for society. Striving to uphold the universal right to freedom of religion, thought, and conscience becomes necessary. However, in order to realize this fundamental right, we must promote a culture of tolerance, which in turn requires corresponding education and awareness-building.
Secondly, I shall turn to freedom of expression, which constitutes most certainly both a right and a responsibility. Realizing the potential of free flow of information is the order of the day, it needs however to be accompanied by adequate education and responsible leadership by governments and practitioners alike. Reshaping media discourses towards diversity can further the agenda of fostering understanding.
About the issue of migration and integration, Spindelegger said that we have to highlight the economic, social, and cultural benefits of migration and integration. There is a great need to de-politicise the subject of migration and to counterbalance negative perceptions by changing the approach to this issue. Thus for example I am proud that in Austria a state-secretary for integration – Mr. Sebastian Kurz – was installed upon my proposal. The experiences with this new state-secretariat can only be described positively. In a globalized world, the challenge of migration most certainly requires responsible and informed leadership at all levels of society, so as to foster integration and to make it to a benefit for all