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Marginalising religious minorities can lead to more severe persecution, warns European Commission official


27 August 2019

Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, warned of the slippery slope from marginalising religious minorities to severely persecuting them as she heralded the first  UN-designated International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief, on 22 August.

“Majorities in one country are minorities elsewhere. Marginalisation and scapegoating of persons belonging to religious minorities can be an early warning sign of more severe persecution, as well as a wider crackdown on the whole society,” said the Italian politician and incumbent Vice-President of the European Commission. “Preventive measures are needed to combat religious hatred, incitement and violence related to religious persecution,” she added.

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High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini [Image credit: EU2017EE]

The Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, commemorated the day by tweeting, “We have seen a rise in attacks against people targeted because of their religion or belief. The world must step up to stamp out anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim hatred, the persecution of Christians and other religious groups. We all have a responsibility to look out for each other.”

The decision to designate the day was made by the UN General Assembly on 28 May 2019. "The world has been experiencing an unprecedented rise of violence against religious communities and people belonging to religious minorities," said Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz when he introduced the resolution.