International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence based on Religion or Belief: Declaration by the HR on behalf of the EU

August 23, 2021
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On the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence based on Religion or Belief, the EU stands in solidarity with all victims of persecution, wherever they may be.

In a year when, among other challenges, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to limitations in the exercise of and put respect for human rights to a test, we continue to witness how religious intolerance leads to individuals across the world being harassed, threatened, detained, scapegoated, and killed for their religion or for holding humanist and/or atheist beliefs. Individuals have also been discriminated in accessing health services and social protection measures on religion or belief grounds.

Persecution and discrimination based on religion or belief is exacerbated by violations of governments of their international human rights obligations. Often, discrimination in law and practice leads to wider persecution.

Combatting in an impartial way, all forms of religious intolerance, stigmatisation, discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons based on religion or belief must be a priority for all States and the international community. Every person no matter where they live should be guaranteed the right to have, not to have, to choose or change, to practice and to manifest a religion or belief and to be free from discrimination.

In line with the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy, the European Union works relentlessly to address violations and abuses of freedom of religion or belief.  We have called on States to protect individuals from persecution and discrimination based on religion or belief, including during EU human rights dialogues with partners and in United Nations human rights fora. Through the Protect Defenders mechanism, the EU continues to provide direct support for human rights defenders at risk, advocating for freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief.

For more information 

Full declaration

Countries covered:

  • Algeria
  • Egypt
  • Israel
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Morocco
  • Palestine *
  • Syria *
  • Tunisia
Human Rights