Obaid Salem Al Zaabi, UAE Permanent Representative to the United Nations, UN, in Geneva, stated that the UAE is a model to follow of openness to other religions and supporting minorities.
During the UAE's speech at the 40th edition of the Human Rights Council, under the framework of the interactive dialogue of the "Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief," Al Zaabi said that the UAE's policy of openness and tolerance was crowned by the historic visit of His Holiness Pope Francis, head of the Catholic Church, in February, which included the signing of the "Document on Human Fraternity" that promotes the values of peace and love, expresses the shared vision of the followers of various religions, and highlights the role of religions in the modern world.
He added that the UAE protects freedom of religion, through a series of legislation that prohibit the misuse of holy shrines or religious rites and offending any religion while explaining that the UAE responded to UN Resolution No 65/244 related to contempt for religions, by issuing a relevant federal decree, to prevent discrimination based on religion, doctrine, sect, creed, race, colour or ethnicity.
At the start of his speech, Al Zaabi welcomed the Special Rapporteur and valued his efforts to ensure the right to religious freedom, as well as to prevent the use of freedom of expression outside its definition according to international law to misrepresent religions and instigate discrimination, violence and hostile actions, which will offend religious communities and faiths.
He also stressed that the stance of the Special Rapporteur is not surprising, as arguments are often presented to impose restraints on freedom of expression in the name of religion while highlighting several international conventions that call on countries to adopt legislation that prohibits religious hatred, discrimination, hostility and violence.
Source: UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs