International day commemorating the victims of acts of violence based on religion or belief


A United Nations-sponsored annual awareness day on 22 August, which began in 2019 as part of the UN’s efforts to support Human Rights Related to Freedom of Religion or Belief.

The resolution passed shortly after the attacks on mosques in New Zealand and churches in Sri Lanka. It calls to protect the essential right of all citizens to practise their own religion and beliefs as well as the freedom to express their religious aspirations and views. It also strives for protection given by the government to strengthen the fulfilment of direct provisions that condone discrimination and intolerance based on religious and cultural differences.

Since designating 22 August as the international day to honour the victims of acts of violence based on religion or belief, the world has suffered a daunting rise of hate, both online and offline. This hate is targeting religious or belief minorities as well as members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Unfortunately, in many parts of the world, people still aren’t able to freely practise their religion. There is discrimination in education, employment, and participation in public and cultural life. None of this is spoken about enough.

Most persecuted religious communities

Christian people are the most persecuted out of all of the religions. Christians face persecution in 143 countries, Muslim people face persecution in 140 countries, while Jewish people face persecution in 87 countries. Countries with the most religious restrictions include China, Iran, Russia, Egypt, and Indonesia.


Religious and faith leaders can play an important role in accommodating an understanding that acts of violence based on religion or belief cannot be justified and so contribute to the difficult task of preventing such acts from occurring.

In many cases, the offenders have used killings, physical and mental abuse, sexual violence and or assault, enslavement, torture, degrading treatment, and forcible transfer of the communities as weapons of war. In these cases, they attempted to destroy the communities in whole or in part.

What you can do to help

An amazing way to unite on this day would be to visit a local church, mosque, or synagogue. Donate to them, ask questions and make new friends. Pray for those of other faiths.

In a lot of places, violence towards certain religions has become normal when it should never be normal and never be accepted. No one deserves to be treated any differently no matter their beliefs, opinions, sexuality or ethnic background.

If you have ever had a negative thought about someone based on their religion, ask yourself why? Is it because of the environment you were raised in? Or is it because you had a bad experience with one person from that religion?

Sade Carrington – Burke
D&I Assistant

For more information, please contact Helen in the DEI Team:
Helen Choudhury
Head of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion
Champion of Menopause
Mental Health First Aider
[email protected]

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