Guterres strongly condemns deadly mosque attack in Pakistan
The UN chief and top officials have strongly condemned the suicide bombing at a mosque in Peshawar, Pakistan on Monday, that left at least 59 dead and 150 injured.
News reports stated that a militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred at a crowded mosque. Reports showed that the bombing caused the roof to collapse on top of those inside.
“It is particularly abhorrent that the attack occurred at a place of worship,” the Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement issued by his Spokesperson. “Freedom of religion or belief, including the ability to worship in peace and security, is a universal human right.”
Extending his condolences to the victims’ families and wishes for a prompt recovery to those injured, Mr. Guterres reiterated the solidarity of the United Nations with the Government and people of Pakistan in their efforts to address terrorism and violent extremism.
‘Sacred places’ must feel safe
Also condemning the attack, the High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), Miguel Ángel Moratinos, emphasized in a statement that all forms of violence and acts of terror against civilians and religious sites on account of their religion or belief, are intolerable and unjustifiable and should be unequivocally condemned.
Concern over rise in attacks
“Houses of worship are sacred places where worshippers should be able to practice and declare their faith safely and freely,” he said, also expressing deep concern at the overall rise in instances of discrimination, intolerance and all acts of violence directed against members of any religious or other communities.
This includes incidents motivated by Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and Christianophobia and prejudices against persons of other religions, beliefs, gender or race.
UN Plan of Action
Calling for mutual respect of all religions and faiths and for fostering a culture of fraternity and peace, he asked governments and other stakeholders to support the UN Plan of Action to Safeguard Religious Sites, which has been developed by the Alliance, at the request of the Secretary-General.