CSW welcomes the adoption by United Nations (UN) General Assembly on 28 May of a resolution establishing 22 August as the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief.
The resolution, proposed by Brazil, Canada, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland and the United States of America, was adopted by consensus.
It strongly deplores “all acts of violence against persons on the basis of their religion or belief, as well as any such acts directed against their homes, businesses, properties, schools, cultural centres or places of worship, as well as all attacks on and in religious places, sites and shrines that are in violation of international law”.
The resolution also “emphasises that freedom of religion or belief, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to peaceful assembly and the right to freedom of association are interdependent, interrelated and mutually reinforcing, stressing the role that these rights can play in the fight against all forms of intolerance and of discrimination based on religion or belief.”
CSW’s United Nations Advocacy Officer Claire Denman said: “CSW welcomes the creation of this international day, and we hope it will assist in raising awareness of the severity and pervasiveness of religiously-motivated violence, while serving as a focal point for advocacy campaigns aimed at addressing violations of the right to freedom of religion or belief. We echo the call contained within the text for all UN Member States to observe the day in an appropriate manner alongside organisations of the UN system, other international and regional organisations and members of civil society.”
Religiously-motivated violence is a common violation of the right to freedom of religion or belief. Although a small number of countries, including the United Kingdom (UK), mark 27 October as International Freedom of Religion or Belief Day, the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief is the first annual commemoration within the UN system dedicated to freedom of religion or belief.