For the second time since its establishment by the United Nations in 2019, the “International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief” was observed on 22 August. The findings of a review of the situation of people suffering from religious persecution worldwide were far from positive. The international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) talked about this with Ján Figel’, a Slovak politician whose mandate as Special Envoy of the European Union for the promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief outside the EU recently ended.
What are your thoughts on the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief?
The international day commemorating the victims of religious persecution is a very important event in the calendar of international days of commemoration because there are so many victims of religious persecution; it is estimated that they number in the hundreds of millions. Religious persecution is on the rise worldwide; this has led many more millions to suffer from discrimination. The very painful reality is that victims of veritable genocide still exist in the world today. In the past, international treaties often ignored, omitted and seldom recognized religious freedom, but today freedom of religion and belief has become the litmus test for the state of human rights.