2021-08-21 GENERAL HOUSE

International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism

21 August

In the broadest sense, terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations including devastating armed attacks on individuals, civilians, families, communities or kidnapping, hijacking, bomb blasting or hostage-taking, is premeditated violence which leaves scars that are slow to disappear. Even though such untold damage to human life and material resources traumatizes the survivors and bereaved families, the terrorists do not care apart from the message that they want to convey to the enemy.

To honour and support the victims and survivors of terrorism, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, on December 19, 2017, established August 21st as the International Day of Remembrance and tribute to the victims and survivors of terrorism. This International Day is also an invitation to denounce terrorist attacks because they undermine human rights and attempts to replace the rule of law with that of fear and hatred. The UN firmly condemns all terrorist attacks and calls on all member states to work together to protect their populations against such violence as well as to prosecute and bring the terrorists to justice.

The fact that terrorist attacks recur across the globe is an indication that no country is free from such assaults. August 21st, therefore, is the Day for people everywhere to stand in solidarity with the survivors of terrorism and the families who have lost loved ones in terrorist violence. On this Day, tribute is paid to them for their courage, resilience, and fortitude. Even though the damage caused them cannot be taken away, their human rights and dignity of the victims and survivors can be defended, and terrorists held accountable for their acts93.

The Church condemns terrorist activities because they sow hatred, death and destruction, plunge people into grief and despair and place the human person as a means and not an end. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (2297) points out that ‘terrorism is gravely against justice and charity.’ According to Pope Benedict VI, terrorism is “cruel fanaticism” and to combat it he said inter alia, ‘we must eliminate intolerance and violence from our hearts’. Similarly, in Cologne, Germany, he referred to terrorist attacks as ‘acts against humanity’ and called on all believers to do their part in fighting terror. He said, ‘if together we can succeed in eliminating from hearts any trace of rancor, in resisting every form of intolerance and in opposing every manifestation of violence, we will turn back the wave of cruel fanaticism that endangers the lives of so many people and hinders progress towards world peace’. Previously, in his message for the 2002 World Day of Peace, Pope John Paul II also condemned terrorism. He called it ‘an offence against humanity’ and acknowledged the right to self-defense but cautioned that this right cannot be exercised in the absence of moral and legal norms, because the struggle against terrorists must be carried out with respect for human rights and for the principles of a State ruled by law.


Brother Francis Lukong (FMS) – Secretariat of Solidarity


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