UNGA declares Aug. 22 International Day for victims of religious violence

UNGA declares Aug. 22 International Day for victims of religious violence

Tuesday, May 28, 2019 7:03 pm

United Nations headquarters

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) on Tuesday adopted a resolution declaring Aug. 22  as International Day for Commemorating Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that UNGA adopted the resolution, tagged A/73/L85, by consensus at its 85th plenary meeting in New York.

Poland drafted the proposal with support from several other countries, including the core group consisting of Nigeria, Brazil, Canada, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Pakistan and the U.S.

Introducing the resolution, the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Jacek Czaputowicz, said it was necessitated by rising cases of religious violence around the world.

He cited instances, including the March 15 deadly mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, that left no fewer than 51 dead and 50 others injured.

Czaputowicz also mentioned the attacks by suicide bombers on three churches in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday (April 21) in which 258 people died and at least 500 were injured.

The resolution, according to him, seeks to honour victims and survivors of religion-based violence.

“Establishment of the international day is being put forward to honor the victims and survivors who often remain forgotten.

“The resolution does not relate to any specific religion or belief but to all religions whose members are victims of violence.

“It seeks to raise awareness of the importance of respect for religious diversity and inclusion .

“We strongly believe that the new international day will help to create an inclusive platform for member states, international organisations and civil societies to engage in activities to commemorate the victims and survivors,” he said.

The Polish minister added that the resolution would help to combat hate crimes and acts of violence relating to religious beliefs and will further strengthen inter-religious dialogue.

He said it might also play an educational role through promoting respect for religious diversity, inclusion and mutual understanding between different religious and belief groups.

The day, he explained further, will complement other important international instruments such as the UN Alliance of Civilisation.

“The right of freedom of thought,  conscience and religion commonly referred to as the right to freedom of religion or belief is a universal right of every human being.

“This right is a cornerstone of many other rights. Any act of violence against people belonging to religious minorities cannot be accepted.

“Let us demonstrate together or commitment to ensuring freedom of religion and belief,” Czaputowicz said.

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