Shia Rights Watch Publishes Statement on International Day of Victims of Violence

August 22 was proclaimed as the International Day for Victims of Violence Based on Religion or Belief by the United Nations General Assembly. The day is set in honor of “victims and survivors who often remain forgotten.” Violence against religious minorities is an international problem. In both the East and the West, religious groups are targeted based on nothing else other than their expressed beliefs. Public expression of beliefs is thwarted through intimidation and threats of violence. Moreover, many groups face persecution not only in the hands of violent extremism but also by in the hands of systemic discrimination within the legal infrastructure. The adopted UN resolutions seek to raise awareness of the importance of religious diversity.  During the session, the case of the Rohingya in Myanmar, Yazidis in Iraq, Uyghur Muslims and ethnic Kazakhs in China and Christians in non-Christian nations were mentioned. Shia Rights Watch notes that in addition to the groups mentioned, the case of Shia Muslims must be acknowledged in efforts to counter violence based on religious beliefs. Shia Muslims are residents of the international community. Shia Rights Watch estimates Shia Islam to be the largest minority group in the world, and one of the largest religious identities in the Middle East. Yet, violence against the religious group has been long neglected.