Attributable to the Spokesperson of the High Representative for the
United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC)
on the continued attacks on religious sites
New York – 16 January 2023
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 have recently taken place, notably the heinous bomb attack on a Penticostal church in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo killing more than ten church-goers and wounding dozens during Sunday mass yesterday. The High Representative also expresses his alarm at the barbaric murder of Fr. Isaac Achi of St. Peter and Paul Church in Kafin Koro, in Paikoro area of Niger state, whose assailants burned him to death by setting fire to his house in the early hours of Sunday morning. Fr. Collins Omeh, the assistant priest, was also shot while trying to escape the building.
Noting that the freedom of religion or beliefs is rooted in article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the High Representative unequivocally condemns the cold blooded attack on a mosque of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Burkina Faso last week killing 9 worshippers. He notes that targeting individuals or groups on the basis of their religion or beliefs is an affront to the Charter of the United Nations which calls for universal respect for and observance of all human rights and fundamental freedoms without distinction based on religion or belief.
The High Representative 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.
He extends his condolences to the victims’ families and wishes those injured a speedy recovery.