As part of the "Istanbul Process" regarding the implementation of Human Rights Council Resolution No. 16/18 on combatting intolerance, negative stereotyping, stigmatisation, discrimination and violence against people for their religion or beliefs, Obaid Salem Al Zaabi, UAE Permanent Representative to the United Nations, UN, in Geneva and Chair of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Group in Geneva, participated in a relevant meeting organised by the European Union, EU.
During the meeting, Ambassador Al Zaabi thanked the parties that contributed to organising the meeting, which was an opportunity to exchange ideas and expertise.
He also presented a brief summary of the UAE's policy to promote coexistence and the country's "tolerance accelerators," which aims to combat extremism and intolerance while stressing that this policy has achieved many accomplishments, including the implementation of an anti-discrimination law in 2015 that criminalised discrimination and hatred, the establishment of the Ministry of Tolerance in 2016, and the launch of an international institute for tolerance in 2017.
He added that the UAE, which is a centre of cultural and religious diversity, is proud to host over 120 churches and many other places of worship that belong to religious minorities living in the country.
Al Zaabi highlighted the historic visit of His Holiness Pope Francis, Head of the Catholic Church, to the UAE in February 2019, and his signing of the Abu Dhabi Declaration with Dr. Ahmed Al Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al Azhar, which made the UAE the capital of tolerance in 2019 and affirmed its commitment to supporting peaceful coexistence while noting that during his visit, Pope Francis presented international messages of tolerance and mutual understanding, which represent the core of Resolution 16/18.
He also highlighted the messages of other religious leaders, such as those contained in the Abu Dhabi Declaration.
At the end of his intervention, Al Zaabi concluded that open communities, which are free from racism and extremist ideologies, can achieve economic, cultural and social successes, which is proven by the UAE's experience over 47 years.
During the meeting, several participants, including Nassima Baghli, Permanent Representative of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in Geneva; Ibrahim Salama, Chief of the Human Rights Treaties Branch, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Dr. Aziz Hasanovic, Mufti of Croatia, praised the visit of Pope Francis to the UAE. They also valued the efforts to implement the principles of the "Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together," which was signed by Pope Francis and Dr. Al Tayeb.
Source: UAE ministry of Foreign Affairs