UN General Assembly Proclaims 22 August International Day for Victims of Violence Based on Religion, Other Beliefs
In a press release, the UN General Assembly informed that, following an unprecedented rise of violence against religious communities and people belonging to religious minorities, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming 22 August as International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief, among other matters
By terms of the text “International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief” (document A/73/L.85), the Assembly invited all Member States, the United Nations and other international and regional organizations, as well as civil society and the private sector, to observe the International Day. It also requested that the Secretary-General bring the text to the attention of all Member States and United Nations bodies for observance.
“Any acts of violence against people belonging to religious minorities cannot be accepted,” stressed Jacek Czaputowicz, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Poland, as he introduced the draft, also on behalf of Brazil, Canada, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Nigeria, Pakistan and the United States.
The International Day will aim to honour the victims and survivors who often remain forgotten, Mr. Czaputowicz said, recalling the spate of attacks, including on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the targeting of Christians in Sri Lanka during Easter Sunday. Hatred towards religious groups may lead to mass killing of innocent people, he cautioned, citing reports that one third of the world’s population suffers from some form of religious persecution. Acts of terror are intended to intimidate members of religious communities and, as a result, to hold them back from practicing their faith. In some countries, religious practice is forbidden even at home, and sometimes the representatives of religious minorities are refused religious funerals.
The case of abduction and murder of priests, the disappearance and resettlement of religious leaders, torture and beating based on religion or belief by the police are only some examples of the persecution and discriminatory behaviour towards religious minorities. The resolution does not relate to any specific religion or belief, but to all victims of violence and seeks to raise awareness of the importance of respect for religious diversity, he added.
“We hope that it will help combat hate crimes and acts of violence related to religion or belief, and will further strengthen interreligious dialogue,” he added, noting that the resolution can serve in promoting diversity and inclusion.
Further on, representatives of Syria, the United States, Egypt, Brazil, Iran, and an observer for the Holy See gave their contribution to the topic.
You can read the full text of the Press Release here.