Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi Issues Statement About the International Day of Conscience
On April 7th, 2021, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi issued the following statement:
"In 2019, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to declare April 5th, the “International Day of Conscience” in an effort to “promote the culture of peace with love and conscience.” The resolution specifically states that all nations must be “Conscious of the need for the creation of conditions of stability and well-being and peaceful and friendly relations based on respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.”
But today, one cannot escape the feeling that America’s democratic institutions are facing unprecedented threats. This feeling became a reality when U.S. Capitol Police frantically evacuated me from my office after a bomb was discovered less than 200 feet from my window on January 6th. The attack on our Capitol on January 6th, and the one causing yet another loss of life last week, have caused me to reflect on the state of our union and the health of our democracy and democracies around the world, matters that seemingly exist in an unprecedented state of fragility today.
In response to the January 6th insurrection, Americans must rededicate ourselves to upholding the core principle of any secular democracy: that individuals of all races, religions and backgrounds can express their views freely and live in peace, with their rights and safety guaranteed. The recent wave of violent attacks on Asian-Americans, culminating in the mass shooting in Atlanta on March 16th, underscores the urgency of defending the rights and security of all.
Democracies around the world are facing similar challenges, including my birth country of India – the world’s largest secular democracy. Just as in the United States, Indian people of all religious and cultural backgrounds -- Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, and others including members of all castes -- must be able to flourish and live safely with the freedom to fulfill their full potential.
The issues that divide the Indian people and its institutions also threaten to hinder needed progress on common challenges, such as vaccinating the global population against the pandemic, confronting the threat of Chinese military aggression, and repairing the economy and allowing it to reach new heights. India is an essential ally of the U.S. on critical challenges such as security issues and climate change. It is crucial that both of our democracies remain strong by remaining true to our shared highest principles, such as treating all people with dignity, fairness and respect.
In addition, in countries ranging from France to Germany, the UK, and other Western democracies, concerns are developing about the erosion of democratic norms and the ability of ethnic, religious, and cultural minorities to prosper. In both France and Germany, for example, recently collected data suggest there was a significant rise in hate crimes and violence against religious minorities in the last year.
The horrific events in Washington, D.C. and Atlanta have served as striking reminders that American democracy can never be taken for granted. They also serve as important lessons for our fellow democracies around the globe that the rights and security of all people must always be protected and upheld. I hope this week as we celebrate the International Day of Conscience, we all reflect on how we can do more to “promote the culture of peace with love and conscience.”
The health of our sacred democracy, and that of international democratic institutions, hang in the balance."