Many terrorist attacks and other violence against houses of worship, religious sites and faith communities around the world “are finally receiving the attention, condemnation and committed response they deserve,” Archbishop Bernardito Auza said at the United Nations.
The archbishop, who is the Vatican’s permanent observer to the UN, spoke of the attacks on Pittsburgh synagogues, on Catholic churches and an evangelical community in Sri Lanka, on Christians in some regions of Nigeria, in Iraq and Syria, and countless other such attacks.
“It is a big step in the right direction that the international community is calling attention to these attacks through General Assembly Resolution 73/285, the recently proposed UN Plan of Plan of Action to Safeguard Religious Sites and other mechanisms,” he said on 24th June.
But at the same time, “even the best international instruments are not enough,” Archbishop Auza said. “There is a need to focus on the responsibility and actions of states to protect all of their citizens equally as well as to address with vigour the cultural factors necessary to promote tolerance and inclusivity.”
The archbishop outlined several actions he said were needed to achieve such tolerance and inclusivity, starting with “a robust promotion of the right to freedom of conscience, religion and belief.”
Picture: Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Vatican’s permanent observer to the United Nations, is pictured speaking at the UN headquarters in New York City on 2nd October 2018. In an address at the UN on 24th June 2019, Archbishop Auza called for fostering tolerance and inclusivity to counter terrorism and “other acts of violence based on religion or belief.” (CNS photo/Kim Haughton, courtesy UN).