Press Statement Attributable to
the Spokesperson for the High Representative for
the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC)
on the reported attack in the holy city of Axum, Ethiopia
New York – 22 February 2021
The High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), Mr. Miguel Ángel Moratinos expresses his dismay at the recent disturbing reports of attacks on worshippers and civilians at the Church of St. Mary of Zion in the holy city of Axum in Ethiopia’s Tigray region late last year.
The High Representative remains deeply concerned about targeting civilians on account of their religion, belief, or ethnicity by parties to the conflict in the Tigray region. Such heinous attacks are an affront to obligations under international humanitarian law and related international laws.
The High Representative appeals to parties of the conflict to respect all religions and beliefs. He reiterates that houses of worship should not be sites for bloodshed and terror.
The High-Representative recalls the UN Plan of Action to Safeguard Religious Sites, developed by his office, and which offers concrete recommendations to support countries in promoting the safety and sanctity of holy sites, ensuring that worshipers can observe their rituals in peace, and fostering the values of compassion and tolerance. He reiterates that we all have a responsibility to unequivocally denounce all forms of discrimination, xenophobia, and racist actions against persons based on their religion or beliefs.