UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- Hundreds of religious and political leaders gathered in New York for the 60th anniversary of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The Tuesday event, coordinated by the Universal Peace Federation's Office of U.N. Relations, also focused on how best to respond to human rights violations around the world, a federation statement said.
The theme of the event was "Interfaith Cooperation and the Protection of Human Rights and Dignity."
The statement noted that there is a growing role for religious leaders and non-governmental agencies to play in combating abuses.
"Interfaith dialogue is absolutely essential, relevant and necessary," said the Conference Co-Chairman Anwarul Chowdhury, a former U.N. undersecretary-general and high representative.
Foundation Co-Chairman Hyun Jin Moon said given the incoming Obama administration in the United States there is hope around the world that U.S. foreign policy will take a turn.
"This is therefore a very good time for the United Nations to reflect upon its own strategies and policies to create peace," he said. "If the recent atrocities in Mumbai, India, prove to have a religious, as well as a political, motive, this will underline the reality that religion has become one of the most important peace issues facing the United Nations."
The Universal Peace Federation was created by Moon's father, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, who also founded News World Communications Inc., a media company that owns UPI.