The U.N. General Assembly has adopted a resolution to establish August 22 as the Day to Commemorate Victims of Violence Based on Religion.
The resolution expressed concern over “continuing acts of intolerance and violence based on religion or belief against individuals, including against persons belonging to religious communities and minorities.”
The proposal was initiated by Poland, which co-drafted the resolution with Brazil, Canada, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, and the United States.
Poland’s foreign minister, Jacek Czaputowicz, told the assembly before the vote that “the world has been experiencing an unprecedented rise of violence against religious communities and people belonging to religious minorities.”
He said the recent attack on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the Easter Sunday attacks on churches in Sri Lanka “have reminded us in a tragic way that the freedom of religion is a fundamental human right and that hatred towards religious groups may lead to mass killing of innocent people.”
Czaputowicz said reports from civic groups estimate “one-third of the world’s population suffers from some form of religious persecution.”
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom in Washington applauded the U.N. General Assembly “for adopting this resolution, which acknowledges and honors victims of violence based on religion or belief around the world.” Tenzin Dorjee, chair of the commission, called on governments to “work together to hold perpetrators accountable, whether they are state or nonstate actors responsible for the abuses."
The Vatican Permanent Observer Mission to the U.N. called the resolution “an opportunity for the international community to focus on the victims and to strengthen efforts to eradicate such violence and acts of terrorism targeting persons because of their religion or belief."
From its beginnings, the Church of Scientology has recognized that freedom of religion is a fundamental human right. In a world where conflicts are often traceable to intolerance of others’ religious beliefs and practices, the Church has, for more than 50 years, made the preservation of religious liberty an overriding concern.
The Church publishes this blog to help create a better understanding of the freedom of religion and belief and provide news on religious freedom and issues affecting this freedom around the world.