International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief
Summary of the Commemorations
August 22 was the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence based on Religion or Belief. The Laboratory of Religious Freedom has taken on the organization of this year's commemoration, established as a holiday by the UN General Assembly in 2019, with the intention of co-creating a new tradition. The strong response to the initiatives organized to commemorate the day of those persecuted for their faith, makes it possible to hope that it will be permanently entered in the calendar of important national and international events.
The Vistula Festival with an emphasis on human rights
The Laboratory of Religious Freedom participated as a partner in this year's Vistula Festival organized on August 14-16. The members of the Laboratory team accompanied the rafting participants who, in a gesture of solidarity with the victims of persecution, decorated their boats with banners and flags with the name of the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence based on Religion or Belief. Persecution for faith and violations of religious freedom also became one of the topics of the ecumenical meeting held as part of the festival on Sunday, August 16. A prayer, specifically arranged for the persecuted, was said for the occasion.
Activities in the media
On August 21, the Laboratory of Religious Freedom organized a press conference at the Warsaw House of Technology NOT, with the participation of the Pontifical Association of Aid to the Church in Need and the Association of Polish Media. Its aim was to bring the idea of the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence based on Religion or Belief to the public and raise awareness about persecution for faith. The discussion on the situation in the world was accompanied by a presentation of a report on the cases of violations of religious freedom that have taken place in the recent years in Poland.
On the same day of August 21, at 14.00, one of the experts of the Laboratory of Religious Freedom, Rev. dr hab. Piotr Roszak from Nicolaus Copernicus University, participated in the debate entitled "Prevention of violence based on religion or belief" organized by the Regional Center for International Debate in Toruń in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland. The discussion concerned topics closely related to the idea of the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence based on Religion or Belief. It focused, in particular, on dialogue, based on respect and non-discrimination, as a foundation for building a democratic society.
A light for the persecuted
The main commemorations of the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence based on Religion or Belief were held on August 22, at 21.00. Throughout Poland, office buildings and cultural institutions were illuminated at that time. These were, among others:
The invitation issued by the Laboratory of Religious Freedom was met with a strong response from local authorities, which disseminated the information about the commemorations on their websites and media channels.
The team from the Laboratory of Religious Freedom gathered on Góra Zamkowa in Dobrzyń on the Vistula River to honor the victims of persecution by lighting a torch and prayer. This initiative was developed in the form of an Internet campaign of lighting candles and torches in a gesture of solidarity with the persecuted. The participants of the action published photos of lit candles along with information about joining the commemorations of that Day and the hashtags: #IDCVAV, #august22, #FoRBmatters.
The project manager of the Laboratory of Religious Freedom, Rev. Tomasz Huzarek, PhD, sums up this year's initiatives accompanying the commemorations and activities undertaken by the Laboratory of Religious Freedom to broadly promote the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence on the basis of Religion or Faith, which met with a very wide response from the media and many local government units, offices and cultural institutions throughout Poland. As the LRF team, we would sincerely like to thank everyone for joining this beautiful initiative. If the first year of our activity has received such a wide response, we look to the future with hope.
Reports and photos from the organized events are available on the project's Facebook page (@LaboratoriumWolnosci).
The reportage from the event is available on the website of TV TRWAM (click)