209 casualties recorded in Pakistan mosque attack, UN condemns bombing
UN secretary general Antonio Guterres and other top officials have strongly condemned the suicide bombing at a mosque in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Monday, leaving at least 59 dead and 150 injured.
According to reports, a militant group had claimed responsibility for the attack at the crowded mosque.
Reports showed that the bombing caused the roof to collapse on top of the worshipers inside.
“It is particularly abhorrent that the attack occurred at a place of worship,” Mr Guterres said in a statement issued by his spokesperson, Stephanie Dujarric.
“Freedom of religion or belief, including the ability to worship in peace and security, is a universal human right,” he noted.
Extending his condolences to the victims’ families and wishes for a prompt recovery to those injured, Guterres reiterated the solidarity of the United Nations with Pakistan in their efforts to address terrorism and violent extremism.
Also condemning the attack, the high representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations (UNAOC), Miguel Ángel Moratinos, emphasised 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.
“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, Christianophobia, and prejudices against persons of other religions, beliefs, gender or race.
Calling for mutual respect of all religions and faiths and fostering a culture of fraternity and peace, he asked governments and other stakeholders to support the UN Plan of Action to Safeguard Religious Sites, developed by the Alliance, at the request of the secretary general.
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