WASHINGTON — This Saturday,(Today) for the second year in a row, the United Nations General Assembly will mark August 22 as the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief. For reference, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom features a Freedom of Religion or Belief Victims List which tracks instances around the world – which are increasing.
It is not an accident that this commemoration immediately follows the International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism since the two are intricately linked in efforts to expand human rights and ensure the safety of all who seek the freedom to live in peace as they practice their beliefs in all aspects of their lives.
“The General Assembly, in its resolution A/RES/73/296, designated 22 August as the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief recognizing the importance of providing victims of acts of violence based on religion or belief and members of their families with appropriate support and assistance in accordance with applicable law.”
The U.N. site goes on to state that:
“It strongly deplored all acts of violence against persons on the basis of their religion or belief, as well as any such acts directed against their homes, businesses, properties, schools, cultural centres or places of worship, as well as all attacks on and in religious places, sites and shrines that are in violation of international law.”
“By proclaiming an International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief, the General Assembly recalled that States have the primary responsibility to promote and protect human rights, including the human rights of persons belonging to religious minorities, including their right to exercise their religion or belief freely.”
This commemoration follows remarks by President Trump on the occasion of his August 13th announcement of the accord he brokered between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Mr. Trump observed: “After 49 years, Israel and the United Arab Emirates will fully normalize their diplomatic relations…and 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.”
When President Trump was specifically asked if and how this accord will help struggling and persecuted Christians in the Middle East, he replied, “I think it’s a big start. 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.”
Raymond Ibrahim, a Judith Friedman Rosen Fellow at the Middle East Forum, praised Trump for speaking out: “President Trump is to be credited for speaking honestly about the plight of Christians in the Middle East.”
Frank Gaffney, the President of Save the Persecuted Christians, noted: “This year’s commemoration by the U.N. 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. 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.”
The mission of STPC is to save lives and save souls by disseminating actionable information about the magnitude of the persecution taking place globally and by mobilizing concerned Americans for the purpose of disincentivizing further attacks on those who follow Jesus.
With so much of the world’s Christian population being imprisoned and/or harassed for their beliefs, including Christians in the Middle East, the need has never been greater for the sort of grassroots campaign STPC’s SaveUs Movement is working to foster. Its efforts are modeled after a miraculously successful one that helped free another population suffering from heavy persecution—Soviet Jews—by penalizing those in the Kremlin responsible for such repression. Through this movement, Save the Persecuted Christians endeavors to provide American policymakers with the popular support they need to effect real change worldwide and alleviate systemically the suffering being experienced by so many of those following Christ.