David Fernández Puyana
Ambassador and Permanent Observer of UPEACE

Statement on anti-Muslim hatred and discrimination

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Joint Statement of the Coordinators, Special Representatives, Envoy and Ambassadors on Combating Anti-Muslim Hatred and Discrimination

29 November 2023

In the current geopolitical context, hate crimes, hate speech, and threats to civil liberties and freedom of peaceful assembly have multiplied worldwide. Muslim and Jewish communities have become targets of physical and verbal attacks. They feel more and more unsafe and threatened, online and offline. No one should be subject to racism, violence, silencing or retaliation because of religion, ethnic origin, gender or nationality. International organizations have recognized that discrimination and hatred of Muslims following terrorist attacks can rise to epidemic proportions. We are deeply concerned with such developments and express solidarity with our fellow Muslim citizens.

Building on the recent statement of our peers Special Envoys and Coordinators Combating Antisemitism on 7 November, we collectively denounce all forms of bias, discrimination, and hatred against Muslims and those perceived to be belonging to this group, including members of Arab or Palestinian Christian groups, Sikhs, as well as other racial or religious minorities. Antisemitism and anti-Muslim hatred are equally reprehensible. We strongly condemn all forms of discrimination and racism, which directly threaten our democracy and freedoms and have no place in our societies. Such phenomena, if not addressed, can threaten social cohesion within our societies and can expose vulnerable communities to further harms.

Therefore, together:

  • We support the action of the national authorities of our countries and member states to fight racism and discrimination and call on them to spare no effort to ensure the safety of Muslim communities, whether it is in places of worship, workplaces, schools, or their homes.
  • We urge the public safety and law enforcement agencies to remain alert to incidents of hate crimes and hate motivated violence against Muslims and to implement relevant international and national norms.
  • We encourage governments, local authorities, representatives of civil society, religious leaders and all actors to continue to work together to protect democratic rights and civil liberties for all to ensure social unity and peaceful coexistence in our diverse and pluralistic societies.

We welcome and encourage initiatives of citizens, civil society, religious leaders, cities and
governmental institutions to promote mutual respect, peace, dialogue and understanding. The way forward is through respectful dialogue underpinned by our shared democratic values and respect for human rights.

We must stand up for our shared values of human rights and inclusion for all.


Minister of State to the Federal Chancellor Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration Federal Government Commissioner for Anti-Racism, Germany


Federal Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance, Germany


National Coordinator against Discrimination and Racism in the Netherlands

Andrea BENZO

Counsellor, Special Envoy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for the protection of religious freedom and for interfaith dialogue, Italy

Delphine BORIONE

Ambassador for Human Rights, France


Canada’s Special Representative on combatting Islamophobia

Márk Aurél ÉRSZEGI

Special Advisor for Religion and Diplomacy Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary


Ambassador, Head of Peace and Human Rights Division, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Switzerland


Acting Special Representative for Freedom of Religion and Belief, Denmark

Alexandre GUESSEL

Special Representative of the Secretary General on antisemitic, anti-Muslim and other forms of religious intolerance and hate crimes, Council of Europe


U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom

Véronique JOOSTEN

Human Rights Director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Belgium


European Commission Coordinator on combating anti-Muslim hatred


Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion and Belief, and head of the IHRA delegation, Norway


Minister of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Slovenia

Michaela MOUA

European Commission Coordinator on combating racism

Regina POLAK Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office on Combating Racism, Xenophobia and Discrimination

David Fernandez PUYANA

Ambassador, Permanent Observer of the UN University for Peace to the UN Office and International Organisations in Geneva and Permanent Delegate of UPeace to UNESCO


Ambassador, Sweden’s Special Envoy to the OIC, Intercultural and Interfaith Dialogue

Agnese VILDE

Director of the International Organisations and Human Rights Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia


About the Author
Dr. David Fernández Puyana was born in Spain and is a practitioner and international lawyer specialized in international human rights law, international relations, peace studies, United Nations and civil society movements. He earned a Phd with European Mention and he has also a Degree on Law & Philosophy, as well as, some Masters on Human Rights (Essex, Alcala de Henares and Barcelona Universities). He served as adviser at the UNESCO Liaison Office and the Permanent Mission of Costa Rica to the UN in Geneva. As a legal assistant of the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the UN Intergovernmental Working Group on the right to peace, he was one of the architects of the Declaration on the Right to Peace adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2016. He advises Paz sin Fronteras and is Professor of Public International Law at Abat Oliba University CEU. Since June 2018, he serves as Ambassador and Permanent Observer of the University for Peace established by the UN General Assembly to the UN and UNESCO. He is also nominated Gender Champion.