Attributable to the Spokesperson of the High Representative for the
United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC)
on the attacks on religious sites that took place in 2021
New York – 19 January 2022
The High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), Mr. Miguel Ángel Moratinos, strongly condemns all terrorist attacks on religious sites and places of worship that took place in 2021. He recalls the UN Plan of Action to Safeguard Religious Sites, which was developed by UNAOC, and calls on all governments and relevant stakeholders to support the implementation of the Plan to guarantee the safety of holy sites and worshipers.
In its capacity as the focal point for the implementation of the United Nations Plan of Action to Safeguard Religious Sites, UNAOC monitors attacks on religious sites around the world. According to open sources, in 2021 the following major attacks occurred:
- Arson attack on the Romanian Orthodox Church in Jerusalem.
- Burning of a church during a raid in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s northeastern Ituri province. At least 13 people were killed during the attack.
- A suicide bomb attack on the sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral in Makassar, Indonesia, injured at least 19 people as worshippers were wrapping up a mass marking Palm Sunday.
- Violent clashes in and around Al-Aqsa Mosque in the last week of Ramadan resulted in hundreds of injuries and hospitalizations.
- A violent explosion in a mosque near Kabul, Afghanistan, caused at least 12 casualties including an imam.
- An explosion outside a mosque in the center of Kabul, Afghanistan, killed at least three people. At least two people were also wounded in the attack.
- A bombing attack on a Shiite Mosque in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz killed at least 50 people during Friday prayers. Dozens more were injured in the bombing. This was the deadliest assault since the international forces left Afghanistan in the summer of 2021.
The High Representative stresses that all forms of violence and acts of terror against civilians and religious sites on account of their religion or belief are intolerable and unjustifiable. He reiterates that places of worship are sacred places where worshipers should be able to practice their faith safely and freely. He extends his condolences to the victims’ families and loved ones.