The International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism is observed every year on August 21 to honor and remember the innocent lives that have been tragically affected by acts of terrorism around the world.

In 2017, the United Nations General Assembly passed resolution 72/165, which established August 21 as the International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism, honouring the victims of these blatant activities and ensuring the full protection of their human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The resolution garnered unanimous approval, underscoring the global determination to combat terrorism and stand by its victims.

The highlighted theme for this year’s commemoration is “Legacy: Finding Hope and Building a Peaceful Future,” signifying that the united efforts and support directed towards terrorism victims will lead to a better and more peaceful future.

International Day Observance

On this day, international organizations, governments, and notable individuals around the globe come together and arrange various events to honour the victims of terrorism and spread awareness among the masses to unite against this evil, in addition to assisting the victims.

These events include activities such as candlelight vigils, memorial services, and educational workshops.

A global minute of silence is observed at the United Nations, where the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, addresses the event.

The event also marks the presence of the Under-Secretary-General for the Office of Counter-Terrorism,  Vladimir Voronkov, and the participation of the co-chairs of the Group of Friends of Victims of Terrorism, Iraq, and Spain.

Also, the event features the testimonies of the victims of terrorism from India, Uganda, the United States, and the United Nations.

The UN chief stressed the significance to support victims and stand with their families, whose lives were “changed forever” by attacks. He introduced the social media-based “Legacy Project” featuring victims and survivors who have channelized their experiences to bring a positive change in society.

Guterres underlined the importance to join hands and cooperate in supporting the lives ravaged by terrorism, ensuring a peaceful future

Global Efforts to Support Victims of Terrorism

Given the rising terrorism in the world, the UN General Assembly adopted the  “Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy” in 2006, a unique instrument, aimed to enhance national, regional and international efforts to counter-terrorism. 

The strategy called the dehumanization of victims is one of the evident factors that amplify terrorism and related activities and recognized human rights and the rule of law as the principal basis in countering terrorism.

Moreover, the UN nations biennially reviewed the resolutions of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy to guarantee the protection and safety of terrorism victims.

Likewise, the eighth review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy resolution on June 22, 2023, emphasized the significance of supporting the victims of terrorism, particularly women, children, and those affected by gender-based violence committed by terrorists.

It also encourages the member states to introduce national comprehensive assistance plans for victims of terrorism and their families, providing immediate, short-term, and long-term relief to victims.

In addition to the strategy, the 193 nations of the UN General Assembly unanimously approved a resolution on 15 June 2017, which established the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), incorporating a multifaceted approach, advancing both anti-terrorism efforts and support for victims.

Furthermore, considering the significance of this matter Secretary-General António Guterres published his report on the “Progress of the UN System to Support Member States in Assisting Victims of Terrorism” in 2020, calling for cooperation and collaboration to assist the people affected by terrorist activities.

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Global observance 

The United Nations commemorated the victims and survivors on the International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism and released a ‘Memories’ initiative to raise awareness about the human stories that lie at the heart of terrorism victims and survivors.

Pakistan joins the international community in honouring the lives lost and the survivors of terrorist attacks on the 6th “International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism”.

For the last two decades, the country had suffered more than 80,000 causalities and incurred over US$ 150 billion in losses to the economy. The terrorist elements even didn’t spare the young students, during the Peshawar school massacre in 2014, leaving behind 147 martyrs.

However, this incident marked the final turning point, prompting the nation to not only stand by terrorism survivors but also expel every remaining terrorist from its borders.

As a nation that has bravely endured the impacts of terrorism, Pakistan affirmed that dialogue and cooperation are the tools that can pave the way towards a peaceful world.

On this special day, Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, Enrique A. Manalo stressed that peace and security are essential for a sustainable future which can be ensured by upholding the human rights of the Terrorism Victims.

France also lends its support to the victims and their families on the  International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism. French Foreign Ministry called that “Our country has faced several waves of terrorist actions in past and France’s ultimate goal is to neutralize terrorist activities, not only within our borders but also beyond our territories.”