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UN to Commemorate Religious Persecution Victims

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The United Nations has established an International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief. The U.N.’s General Assembly passed the resolution without objection recently, setting August 22 as the day commemorating victims of anti-religious violence. “The world has been experiencing an unprecedented rise of violence against religious communities and people belonging to religious minorities,” said Jacek Czaputowicz, Poland’s foreign minister, speaking before the General Assembly. Poland introduced the resolution creating the day. He cited recent “appalling acts of violence” against mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand and Easter Sunday bombings of churches in Sri Lanka. “Hatred towards religious groups may lead to mass killing of innocent people,” Czaputowicz said. He cited surveys showing that a third of the world’s population suffers from “some form of religious persecution.” In some countries, he said, some religious adherents are prohibited from practising their rituals even in their own homes. “The right of freedom of thought, conscience and religion, commonly referred to as a right to religious freedom or belief, is a universal right of every human being. This right is a cornerstone of many other rights. Any act of violence against people belonging to religious minorities cannot be accepted,” Czaputowicz said.