Press Release

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s Message on the International Day Commemorating the Victims of acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief

21 August 2023

Freedom of religion and belief is an inalienable human right.

Faith and belief should never attract violence.

Yet, around the world, people and communities, particularly minorities, face intolerance, discrimination and threats – to their places of worship, their livelihoods and even their lives. Hatred stirred on and off line is often the cause.

On this International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief, we remember all those who have suffered. And we renew our resolve to stamp out the hate speech that fuels these terrible acts of intolerance. Initiatives like my Call to Action for Human Rights and the UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech provide a blueprint to do so.

I urge all governments to prevent and address acts of violence based on religion and belief. I call on everyone, particularly political, community and religious leaders, to speak out against hate and incitement to violence. And I encourage governments, technology companies and other stakeholders to support the United Nations’ work in developing a voluntary Code of Conduct for Information Integrity on Digital Platforms, ahead of next year’s Summit of the Future, to tackle hate speech online. 

Together, let’s honour the victims of violence by striving to build a more inclusive, respectful, and peaceful world – one where diversity is celebrated.

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