Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini has said people of various cultures should respect and accommodate each other to avoid conflict which could degenerate into genocide as experienced Rwanda in 1994.
Dr Matibini said tolerance and swift conflict resolution techniques should be employed whenever there was a potential of conflict in any environment.
In a speech read for him by Deputy Speaker Mkhondo Lungu, the Speaker said it was important for people to learn that all people were equal despite having different cultures.
He was speaking in Lusaka yesterday during the commemoration of this year’s Commonwealth Day under the theme, ‘connecting cultures’.
“Cultural differences have led to civil war which resulted in the loss of many lives. Most of you still recall the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda which was among other reasons caused by cultural differences between two ethnic groups.
“Therefore, if people of various cultures do not accept and respect each other, conflicts such as the one experienced in Rwanda can occur,” he said.
Dr Matibini said it was important for people to learn that no culture was entirely bad or entirely good. He said respecting and safeguarding culture was a matter of human rights.
“Cultural diversity presupposes respect of fundamental freedoms, namely freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom of opinion and expression and freedom to participate in the cultural life of one’s choice,” he said.
He said young people who are the future generation should therefore be taught how to embrace each other and live in harmony with people of other cultures from theirs.
He said people of different cultures bring new ways of thinking and possible solutions to different problems.