Uniting Against Religious Violence: International Day to Commemorate Victims

Marked annually on August 22nd, the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief is a poignant reminder of the global commitment to eradicating religious violence and standing in support of those who have suffered its tragic consequences. The genesis of this observance can be traced back to 2019, when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the landmark resolution 73/328, which is dedicated to “Combating intolerance, discrimination, stigmatization, violence, and acts of violence against persons based on religion or belief.”

The fundamental objective of this day is to pay homage to the victims and survivors who have endured malevolent acts carried out in the name of religion or belief. It serves as a poignant platform for the international community to unite and unequivocally denounce all forms of religious violence. Beyond condemnation, the day sends a resolute message of hope and remembrance to those who have suffered, assuring them that their pain and struggles have not been forgotten or endured in vain.

The significance of this occasion is multi-faceted. Firstly, it provides an opportunity for individuals, organizations, and nations to deepen their understanding of the complex issue of religious violence and to take tangible steps to prevent its occurrence. Secondly, it underscores the importance of advocating for the rights of victims, raising awareness, and supporting initiatives and organizations dedicated to curbing religious violence.

The establishment of this day in 2019 was a pivotal moment in the ongoing effort to achieve justice for survivors of atrocities rooted in religious or ethnic affiliations. The adoption of this observance at the 73rd UN General Assembly on May 28, 2019, was spearheaded by Poland. It underscores the shared responsibility of international communities to ensure justice for survivors by holding perpetrators accountable. Moreover, the day serves as a reminder to governments worldwide that resolute action must be taken to prevent the recurrence of genocides and other heinous acts of violence, reaffirming the commitment to the principle of “never again.”