The United Nations should establish an International Day Commemorating the Victims and Survivors of Religious Persecution, say parliamentarians in the United Kingdom.
The proposed annual day should be on 3 August, “being the day when Daesh [the Arabic acronym for ISIS] unleashed its genocidal campaign against the Yazidis in Sinjar, followed by a similar campaign against Christians and other religious minorities in the region”, said the motion tabled by British MP Fiona Bruce, part of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on International Religious Freedom.
“This House is concerned about growing religious persecution of minority groups worldwide, which may amount to crimes against humanity, war crimes or even genocide,” she said, calling on the UK Government “to better track such violations of the right to freedom of religion or belief and to consider developing strategic action plans to address such incidents before they reach the threshold of mass atrocities”.
Part of the aim would be to “engage the UN and its member states to strengthen their efforts to address religious persecution around the world”, she added.
The UN designates specific years to mark and raise awareness of events or topics such as Youth, Women or Freedom of Religion. This usually follows a proposal by a member state and is established through a resolution by the UN General Assembly.
The UK announced yesterday (3 July) that it had appointed a Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief to “promote inter-faith respect and dialogue internationally”. Lord Tariq Ahmad is a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, which has faced persecution from some other sectors within Islam.