OIC Permanent Observer to the UN Ambassador Gokcen paid a visit to the Park East Synagogue and Rabbi Arthur Schneier Park East Day School on 19 December 2011 at the invitation of the latter. During the meeting, Ambassador Gokcen and Rabbi Schneier discussed a wide range of contemporary issues of common concern, including the Alliance of Civilizations, promotion of religious freedom, and countering intolerance, discrimination and violence on the basis of religion or belief. Rabbi Scheier expressed his pleasure over and support to the adoption by the UN General Assembly the same day of Resolution 66/167, titled "Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against, persons based on religion or belief".
This resolution was developed on the basis of the United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18, titled “Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief”, and adopted on April 12, 2011. The General Assembly resolution as well as the Human Rights Council resolution was adopted by consensus with the participation of the United States, European Union, and the OIC member states. As such, it marked the widespread political will among the UN member states to work together towards countering discrimination, intolerance and violence against individuals or the communities of individuals on the basis of their religion or belief.
Earlier on July 15, 2011, The Secretary of State of the United States, the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, together with foreign ministers and officials from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Sudan, Turkey, United Kingdom, the Vatican (Holy See), UN OHCHR, Arab League, African Union, met in Istanbul to give a united impetus to the implementation of UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18 on “Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief.” The meeting was hosted by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation at the OIC/IRCICA premises in the historic Yildiz Palace in Istanbul and co-chaired by the OIC Secretary-General H.E Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and U.S. Secretary of State H.E. Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
They called upon all relevant stakeholders throughout the world to take seriously the call for action set forth in Resolution 16/18, which contributes to strengthening the foundations of tolerance and respect for religious diversity as well as enhancing the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms around the world.
The participants, resolved to go beyond mere rhetoric, and to reaffirm their commitment to freedom of religion or belief and freedom of expression by urging States to take effective measures, as set forth in Resolution 16/18, consistent with their obligations under international human rights law, to address and combat intolerance, discrimination, and violence based on religion or belief. The co-chairs of the meeting committed to working together with other interested countries and actors on follow up and implementation of Resolution 16/18 and to conduct further events and activities to discuss and assess implementation of the resolution. Participants are encouraged to consider to provide updates, as part of ongoing reporting to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, on steps taken at the national level on the implementation of Resolution 16/18, building also on related measures in the other resolutions adopted by consensus on freedom of religion or belief and on the elimination of religious intolerance and discrimination.