Attacks on Christians

Archbishop Silvio M. Tomasi, the Holy See’s permanent observer to U.N. offices in Geneva, told the U.N. Human Rights Council that attacks on Christians in Africa, the Middle East and Asia more than tripled between 2003 and 2010. He said on March 1, “Approximately 70 percent of the world’s population lives in countries with high restrictions on religious beliefs and practices, and religious minorities pay the highest price.” He added that rising restrictions on religion affect more than 2.2 billion people. Archbishop Tomasi denounced “intolerance that leads to violence and to the killing of many innocent people...simply because of their religious convictions.” The international community must work, he said, “to sustain mutual tolerance and respect of human rights and a greater equality among citizens of different religions...to achieve a healthy democracy, where the public role of religion and the distinction between religious and temporal spheres are recognized.”

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