The annual International Day of Commemoration of the Victims of Acts of Violence based on Religion or Beliefs was marked on August 22.

“It is not necessary to be killed to be a victim; it is enough that your basic freedoms are restricted. Christians in Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Burkina Faso − to name just a few − live virtually in ghettos, and those who remain in their villages practise their faith underground,” Thomas Heine-Geldern, International Executive President of ACN, said.

ACN strengthens the Church through prayer, information and action where Christians are persecuted or suffering in the world. Aid to the Church in Need is a pontifical foundation of the Catholic Church and registered in Malta as a foundation (LPF-212) regulated by the second schedule of the Civil Code Chapter (16) of the Laws of Malta.

Heine-Geldern said: “The greatest tragedy is the indifference of so many in the face of religious persecution. We cannot remain silent in the face of this situation.

The greatest tragedy is the indifference of so many in the face of religious persecution- Thomas Heine-Geldern, International Executive President of Aid to the Church in Need

“On August 22, we must remember not only those who lost their lives, but also all those who are victims of discrimination and suffer the immediate consequences of violence, as well as those who are displaced, those who are traumatised and all those who have been kidnapped, including those whose whereabouts are unknown to this day,” he said. “In addition to two priests from Burkina Faso and two from Nigeria, more than 10 priests remain missing in China, some for months or even years. Let’s not forget them.”

ACN calls on religious leaders, politicians and the media to play a crucial role in building communities centred on peace and justice. ACN also asked international organisations and institutions to help guarantee the right to religious freedom.

More information can be obtained from the ACN (Malta) office at 35, Mdina Road, Attard ATD 9038 or by calling on 2148 7818 during office hours.

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