The UAE has reiterated the critical role global parties can play by engaging in promoting values of tolerance.
During a session entitled, 'Celebration of diversity: beyond tolerance, the path towards empathy', Obaid Salem Al Zaabi, UAE Permanent Representative to the UN and Other International Organisations in Geneva, stressed the importance of the role international bodies and governments in promoting values of tolerance, noting the UAE's commitment to international treaties and charters on equality, freedom, respect and non-discrimination.
The event was held by the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue, on the sidelines of the 40th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, UNHRC.
Al Zaabi began by expressing his sincere condolences to the government and people of New Zealand, and the families of the victims of the recent terrorist attack that struck two mosques in Christchurch.
He went on to note the importance of events like the Geneva Centre's panel discussion, describing it as an effective response to violence and hatred around the globe. "While terrorists seek to spread fear and hatred, we are here today to send a message of peace and tolerance that calls for human fraternity," Al Zaabi added.
The Ambassador expressed his pride in the UAE declaring 2019 as the Year of Tolerance, adding that it further promotes the principles of co-existence and harmony within the country which hosts over 200 nationalities, and varied religious communities in peace and security. He explained that the UAE's stance on tolerance stems from the teachings of Islam, which calls for peace and rejects fanaticism, extremism and racism, that it carries on the legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who entrenched within UAE society the values of acceptance and religious pluralism, and its Constitution that provides for equality, freedom, respect and non-discrimination for all members of the community.
Al Zaabi highlighted the Papal visit to the UAE, the first visit to the Arabian Peninsula by the Head of the Catholic Church, as a concrete example of the UAE's open tolerance policy. The Abu Dhabi Declaration signed by His Holiness Pope Francis and Sheikh Ahmad el-Tayyeb, the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, is a significant step in the battle against terrorism and extremism, promoting stronger bonds between peoples, he affirmed.
The joint document entitled, 'Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together', was adopted on 4th February 2019, reiterating the importance of harnessing the collective energy of religions and faiths to uphold equal citizenship rights and promote tolerant and inclusive societies.
"The fight against terrorism and extremism will succeed through joint action, in which the efforts of all national, regional, and international parties must come together to build peaceful, harmonious communities," Al Zaabi concluded.