Following an unprecedented rise of violence against religious communities and people belonging to religious minorities, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution proclaiming 22 August as International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on their Religion, Belief or Faith, amongst other matters.
According to a UN Report, “by terms of the text ‘International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief’ (document A/73/L.85), the Assembly invited all Member States, the United Nations and other international and regional organizations, as well as civil societies and the private sector, to observe the International Day.”
The advocacy for an International Day for Religious Freedom started with a working partner of Christian Social Movement of Nigeria (CSMN), Ewelina Ochab, a legal researcher and human rights advocate. She is the author of the book “Never Again: Legal Responses to a Broken Promise in the Middle East”. Ms. Ochab authored the initiative and proposal to establish the UN International Day Commemorating Victims and Survivors of Religious Persecution. This initiative has led to the establishment of the UN International Day Commemorating the Victims of Violence Based on Religion or Belief on August 22.
On May 28, 2019, Poland, supported by several other states including a core group consisting of Brazil, Canada, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Nigeria, Pakistan and the United States introduced the draft at the United Nations.
On Thursday 22nd August, 2019, Christian Social Movement in Nigeria, in collaboration with the Muslim community in Nigeria shall commemorate the International Day of Religious Freedom in Abuja. The Guest of Honor at the occasion shall be his Excellency, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR, while the Guest Speakers shall be prominent adherents of the various faiths in the country.
Earlier, Christian Social Movement of Nigeria (CSMN) and its partner, International Christian Foundation for Democracy (ICFD) participated actively in the International Religious Freedom Ministerial Roundtable at Washington DC in July 2019. The IRF Ministerial, which was organized by Ambassador Sam Brownback of USICRF and the US Department of State was called to advance Religious Freedom.
Before the meeting in the USA, CSMN was at the UK Parliament advocating for solutions to the religious crisis in Nigeria. The advocacy led to two key papers submitted to the All Party Parliamentarian Group (APPG) of the UK Parliament.
The Chairman of Christian Social Movement of Nigeria, who is also the Chairman of its affiliate body, National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF), Mr. Solomon Asemota, SAN, invites all Nigerian religious leaders and all Nigerians to join in commemorating the first International Day of Religious Freedom on 22nd August, 2019. In view of the serious calamity that has afflicted Nigeria due to religious intolerance, “We must all mature to tolerate each other’s religious belief. We must acknowledge that not one religion will dominate the world therefore there is need for peaceful coexistence to guarantee safety and security for all”.
Christian Social Movement of Nigeria (CSMN)