On August 22, the United Nations (UN) will recognize the second annual "International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief," as a way for states to increase their efforts in raising awareness on violence and discrimination against people based on their religion or belief.
The recognition follows the "International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism", which is acknowledged on August 21 in an effort to honor and support victims and survivors of terrorism.
Both commemorations are deeply tied to expanding human rights and assuring that everyone can freely and safely practice their beliefs.
United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres tweeted, "The right to freedom of religion or belief is firmly trenched in international human rights law & is a cornerstone for inclusive, prosperous & peaceful societies."
"The right to freedom of religion or belief is firmly trenched in international human rights law & is a cornerstone for inclusive, prosperous & peaceful societies."
— United Nations (@UN) August 22, 2020
Saturday's observance follows President Trump's comment from August 13 (link) over the finalization of a peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
"After 49 years, Israel and the United Arab Emirates will fully normalize their diplomatic relations," the president said. "They will begin to cooperate in a broad range of areas, including security. By uniting two of America's closest and most capable partners in the region - this deal is a significant step towards building a more peaceful, secure, and prosperous Middle East."
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President Trump asserted that the agreement was "a big start" toward helping persecuted Christians in the Middle East.
"Christians have been persecuted by some countries, in particular in the Middle East. If you look at the way Christians have been treated in some countries, it's beyond disgraceful," Trump concluded.
Frank Gaffney, president of Save the Persecuted Christians emphasized that the increased awareness over this matter serves as a beacon of hope for many.
"This year's commemoration by the UN of those victimized for their beliefs, coupled with President Trump's comments about the 'disgraceful treatment' of Christians in the Middle East, puts a klieg light on the human rights violations happening to Christian and other faithful around the world," Gaffney said. "At Save the Persecuted Christians, we pray that this increased awareness will translate into action to hold the persecutors accountable and create costs for their crimes against humanity."
Far too many are attacked and threatened simply for their religious convictions. Proclaiming an international day that honors the oppressed is a positive step forward in combating persecution.