International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief Date in the current year: August 22, 2022

International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief is a United Nations observance held on August 22, the day after International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism. It was established by a UN General Assembly resolution adopted on May 13, 2019.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights enshrines three interdependent, interrelated and mutually reinforcing rights: the right to freedom of religion or belief, opinion and expression, the right to freedom of association and the right to peaceful assembly. Unfortunately, these rights are regularly violated around the world, and the number of acts of violence based on religion or belief has been growing over the recent years.

If you turn to history, you will find a lot of examples of acts of violence based on religion or belief, including persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire, expulsions and exoduses of Jews, the crusades, religious wars fought after the Protestant Reformation, numerous pogroms…

It would seem that by the 21st century mankind should have realized the importance of tolerance, but, unfortunately, the number of acts of violence and terrorism based on religion or belief is only growing. Take, for example, the Christchurch mass shootings of 2019 that resulted in the deaths of 51 people. And this happened in New Zealand that is considered one of the safest countries.

During its 73rd session, the UN General Assembly strongly condemned continuing violence and acts of terrorism and adopted a resolution that proclaimed International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief. Its main goals are to raise public awareness of the problem of terrorism and violent extremism, to emphasize the importance of respecting the human rights of victims of terrorism and their families, and to honor the memory of all victims of terrorist attacks and other crimes motivated by religious intolerance.

Having proclaimed the day, the General Assembly emphasized that the main responsibility for protecting human rights, including the right of religious minorities to freedom of religion, rests with governments, therefore the joint work of governments to protect people from discrimination and hate crimes is of great importance for the eradication of religious intolerance.

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UN Observances

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