The United Nations has proclaimed today, August 22, the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief.
"It's important that the international community come together to recognize that people are being violated for their faith in a growing number of countries worldwide," says Dede Laugesen of Save The Persecuted Christians, an organization that works to raise awareness about those under attack for their faith, especially women and children.
"Right now more than 80 percent of the world's population experiences some form of discrimination or violence due to their chosen belief," Laugesen continues. "Save The Persecuted Christians stands with the UN in recognizing these victims who have been so harmed by others for their beliefs."
While the idea was introduced at the UN in May, today is the first official observance of the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief.
"All people have the right to peacefully live out their faith, and we can never forget those who have faced persecution for doing so," says Alliance Defending Freedom spokesperson Kelsey Zorzi, who is ADF's international director of advocacy for global religious freedom.
It’s a good gesture for the UN to recognize religious persecution, she adds, but “remembrance” is not enough when persecution is on the rise worldwide.
Laugesen tells OneNewsNow that individuals can have an impact.
"People can join our Save Us movement and help us hold the persecutors accountable for their crimes against humanity,” she says, “and contact their elected officials to encourage them to pass legislation and polices that would be helpful to relieve their suffering."