Mr. Miguel Moratinos
The High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations
on the International Day Commemorating the Victims of
Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief
22 August 2020
Today we pay tribute to the victims of acts of violence based on religion or belief. The right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief is rooted in the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Sadly, we continue to witness acts of intolerance and violence based on religion or belief against individuals, including against persons belonging to religious communities as well as attacks on religious sites. Hate speech, stigma, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and racist rhetoric surged during COVID-19 pandemic against populations simply because of their religion, belief or ethnicity.
We should all unequivocally condemn and stand-up against all acts of intolerance and violence based on religion or belief targeting individuals belonging to religious communities and religious minorities around the world. We should also collectively deplore all acts of violence and terrorist attacks against places of worship that are motivated by religious hatred, including Islamophobia, anti -Semitism and Christianophobia.
The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) continues to collaborate with state and non-state actors and stakeholders including faith actors and relevant UN entities to implement strategies and plans launched by the United Nations Secretary-General such as the Plan of Action to Safeguard Religious Sites as well as the Call to Action on Human Rights and the Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech.
Recalling the United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/73/296 that calls for strengthened international efforts to foster a global dialogue on the promotion of a culture of tolerance and peace at all levels, based on respect for human rights and for the diversity of religions and beliefs, emphasizing that States, regional organizations, national human rights institutions, non -governmental organizations, religious bodies, the media and civil society as a whole have an important role to play in such efforts.
Today, we remember the victims of the acts of violence based on religion or belief and we stand in solidarity with their families.
Let us commemorate those victims in a meaningful way through our collective actions to ensure that such crimes will not recur again. We all share this responsibility as one humanity.