Dubai: Hundreds of people of different faiths and nationalities gathered to celebrate the UN International Day of Peace in Dubai on Thursday.
The event was organized by the Gurudwara Guru Nanak Darbar in Jebel Ali for the fifth year.
Shaikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of State for Tolerance, who was the chief guest at the event said: "Here in the UAE, we believe that tolerance is the backbone of all civilizations, religions and cultures."
She added: "In its multi-cultural approach, the UAE is home for more than 200 nationalities living and sharing one common existence peacefully and securely."
Shaikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, UAE Minister of State for Tolerance speaks to Gulf News on the UN International Day of Peace
Connection: Key to stability, prosperity
"The UAE believes that peoples and nations need to keep connecting, as a key requisite to ensure the stability and prosperity of the world."
She said the UAE is also committed to the promotion and protection of human rights at home and around the world. The foreign policy of the UAE is based on the principles of justice, equality, and human rights.
"The UAE places high priority on respect for human rights in accordance with international human rights standards, and is committed to the continual improvement of its own laws and practices, based on the country's cultural heritage and religious values, which enshrine justice, equality and tolerance."
Shaikha Lubna urged everyone to work together to build more tolerant, peaceful and coexisting societies for the present and future generations.
There are about 65m refugees around the world as a result of conflicts, said Frode Mauring, UN Resident Coordinator in the UAE and UNDP Resident Representative Acting in Charge for UAE, Oman and Qatar.
"Particularly the ongoing crises in the Middle East have produced the greatest share of refugees in recent years, where millions of men, women and children were forced to leave the homes, their jobs, their entire livelihoods to seek asylum.
"All to escape danger in the pursuit of a better, and above all, safer tomorrow...which brings me to this year's theme for International Peace Day: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All," said Mauring.
"As we engage and mobilize people throughout the world to show support for refugees, migrants, and all those afflicted by armed conflicts, it is our hope these three values are upheld.
Surender Singh Kandhari, chairman, Guru Nanak Darbar Gurudwara, said: "We all talk about people when they leave us to Rest In Peace.
I advise everybody let's start living in peace rather than promoting people resting in peace when they are gone. It is very important for us to understand peaceful co-existence and live happily together."
Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on September 21. The UN General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. The theme for 2017 is “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All.” It honours the spirit of togetherness, a global initiative that promotes respect, safety and dignity for everyone.
The Gurudwara celebrated the day in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) UAE and supported by the Ministry of Tolerance in the UAE.
The gathering of faith leaders, diplomats, students and others aimed to showcase the UAE’s inclusive diversity and spread tolerance of the vast differences within the country’s population. The speakers urged the UAE residents to instill a sense of “togetherness” in the society and encourage youth to work towards a better future.
The event, which was live telecast in India and Europe, also screened a video promoting peace through advocates from various countries.