Human Rights Related to Freedom of Religion or Belief
Reflect on the significance of the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief, its importance in promoting tolerance, and the need for unity against hatred and prejudice.
Freedom of religion or belief, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to peaceful assembly, and the right to freedom of association are crucial facets of human rights. These fundamental rights are intricately connected and mutually reinforcing, underscored by articles 18, 19, and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They play a pivotal role in combatting intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief.
Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief
Upholding Essential Rights
The significance of open, constructive, and respectful debates, as well as interreligious, interfaith, and intercultural dialogues, cannot be overstated. These exchanges, whether local, national, regional, or global, are powerful tools in counteracting religious animosity, incitement, and violence.
The Role of Expression and Assembly
Freedom of opinion and expression, coupled with the freedom to seek, receive, and share information, plays a constructive role in bolstering democracy and combating religious intolerance.
Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief
Tragically, acts of intolerance and violence driven by religion or belief continue to plague societies worldwide. Individuals, particularly those belonging to religious minorities, face discrimination and violence. The frequency and intensity of these incidents, often criminal in nature and potentially involving international elements, are on the rise.
Global Response and Resolution
In a resolute response to this challenge, the General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/73/296, titled “International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief.” This resolution vigorously condemns ongoing violence and acts of terrorism targeting individuals, including those from religious minorities, grounded in religion or belief.
Denouncing Terrorism and Extremism
Member States have unequivocally condemned all forms of terrorism and violent extremism conducive to terrorism, regardless of their motivation. The resolution reaffirms that these reprehensible acts cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization, or ethnic group.
Designating a Day of Remembrance
The General Assembly designated 22 August as the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief. This day follows the International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism on 21 August.
Addressing Support and Assistance
The designation recognizes the importance of providing victims of religiously motivated violence and their families with appropriate support in accordance with the law. It strongly deplores all acts of violence targeting individuals based on their religion or belief, including attacks on their homes, businesses, properties, schools, cultural centers, places of worship, and religious sites.
The Fight Against Intolerance
Previous resolutions, including A/RES/72/165, aimed at commemorating the Victims of Terrorism, underscored the importance of working together to combat intolerance, discrimination, and violence. These efforts involve strengthening existing legal frameworks, fostering interreligious and interfaith dialogue, expanding human rights education, and combating incidents of intolerance rooted in religion or belief.
Responsibilities of States
By proclaiming an International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief, the General Assembly underscores that States bear the primary responsibility for promoting and safeguarding human rights. This extends to persons belonging to religious minorities, ensuring their right to practice their religion or belief without hindrance.
Bridging Across Faiths
The General Assembly’s proclamation of the World Interfaith Harmony Week (A/RES/65/5) in 2010 reinforces the need for dialogue among different faiths and religions. The objective is to enhance mutual understanding, harmony, and cooperation among people. The General Assembly encourages all States to spread messages of interfaith harmony and goodwill in places of worship worldwide during this week.
The International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief stands as a poignant reminder of the need to protect the rights of individuals regardless of their religious affiliation. Upholding freedom of religion or belief, fostering open dialogue, and condemning violence are pivotal steps towards a more tolerant and harmonious world.
What is the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief?
This day, designated on 22 August, serves to remember and honor victims of violence motivated by religion or belief.
How does the General Assembly address religious intolerance?
The General Assembly condemns religious violence, supports interfaith dialogue, and emphasizes the responsibility of States in protecting human rights.
What is the significance of World Interfaith Harmony Week?
Proclaimed by the General Assembly, this week encourages dialogue between different faiths and religions to foster understanding and cooperation.
Why is freedom of religion important?
Freedom of religion ensures individuals can practice their beliefs without fear, promoting diversity and peaceful coexistence.
How can individuals contribute to combatting religious violence?
Individuals can promote tolerance, engage in interfaith dialogue, and raise awareness about the importance of respecting all beliefs.
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