GENEVA (18 August 2023) – On the occasion of the International Day to commemorate victims of acts of violence based on religion or belief, a group of UN experts* issued the following joint statement: 

“In 2019, 22 August was designated by the United Nations General Assembly as the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief, deploring the widespread violations suffered by individuals – including migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and persons belonging to minorities – who are targeted on the basis of religion or belief.

Back in 1981, it had taken some two decades for the international community to finally adopt the UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. That Declaration acknowledged the great suffering brought about by the disregard and infringement of human rights including of freedom of religion or belief. It noted that for those that profess religion or belief, this constitutes one of the fundamental elements of their conception of life and therefore also of their freedoms.

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