Third International Conference on the victims of ethnic and religious violence in the Middle East

Third International Conference on the victims of ethnic and religious violence in the Middle East

At the initiative of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders, Belgium will host the 3rd International Conference on the Victims of Ethnic and Religious Violence in the Middle East on Monday 14th of May. This conference, which will take place at the Egmont Palace in Brussels, is part of the larger political, military and humanitarian efforts of the international community in the region. It is the third conference of a cycle started in Paris in 2015, followed by Madrid in 2017, dedicated to safeguarding the cultural, religious and ethnic heritage in the Middle East – and in particular in Iraq and Syria.

The conference will be co-chaired by Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders and his Lebanese colleague Gebran Bassil. It will bring together a large number of ministers, heads of international organizations and representatives of a number of ethnic and religious communities. Kind Philippe will join the participants during a working lunch.

This conference is a forum for all those who are committed to work for the safe return and the sustainable protection of religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East. Some of these communities have been the victim of crimes against Humanity, war crimes and other very grave violations of Human rights. Some have been threatened in their very existence and remain very fragile today despite the military defeat of Da’ech. Nadia Murad, UN Goodwill Ambassador and tireless advocate of the Yezidi cause, will come to give her testimony.

During his intervention, Didier Reynders will stress that the priority must be given to stabilization efforts. Like the five fingers of the hand of Fatima, chosen to illustrate the conference, he will underline the importance of working towards reconciliation and an harmonious coexistence between the different communities. In order to rebuild a resilient society on solid foundations, he will also remind that it is essential to fight against impunity and to bring to justice those responsible of the atrocities that have been perpetrated.