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Honouring Holocaust victims, UN chief Guterres pledges to battle anti-Semitism, all forms of hatred

Honouring Holocaust victims, UN chief Guterres pledges to battle anti-Semitism, all forms of hatred

India Blooms News Service | 28 Jan 2017, 05:23 am
New York, Jan 27 (Just Earth News): The world has a duty to remember that the Holocaust was a systematic attempt to eliminate the Jewish people and so many others, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said on Friday, noting that building a future of dignity and equality for all will honour the victims of this “incomparable tragedy in human history […] who we will never allow to be forgotten.”

Marking the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the
Victims of the Holocaust, Guterres said in video message that it would
be a dangerous error to think of the Holocaust as simply the result of
the insanity of a group of criminal Nazis.

“On the contrary, the Holocaust was the culmination of millennia of
hatred, scapegoating and discrimination targeting the Jews, what we
now call anti-Semitism,” he emphasized, adding that tragically and
contrary to the international community's resolve, anti-Semitism
continues to thrive.

Moreover, the world is also witnessing a “deeply troubling” rise in
extremism, xenophobia, racism and anti-Muslim hatred. “Irrationality
and intolerance are back,” said the UN chief.

Stressing that this is in complete contrast to the universal values
enshrined in the UN Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
he said: “We can never remain silent or indifferent when human beings
are suffering. We must always defend the vulnerable and bring
tormentors to justice. And as the theme of this year's observance
highlights, a better future depends on education.”

“After the horrors of the 20th century, there should be no room for
intolerance in the 21st. I guarantee you that as Secretary-General of
the United Nations, I will be in the frontline of the battle against
anti-Semitism and all other forms of hatred,” said Guterres.

Also on Friday, in his remarks, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,
Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said the day of remembrance for the victims of
the Nazi Holocaust forces the world to contemplate the horrors to
which bigotry, racism and discrimination ultimately lead.

“The sadistic brutality of the atrocities inflicted by the Nazi regime
on Jews, Roma, Slavs, persons with disabilities, political dissidents,
homosexuals and others was nourished by layer upon layer of
propaganda, falsifications and incitement to hatred,” he said, adding
that they were denigrated and smeared; one after another, their rights
were refused, and finally, even their humanity was denied.

“'It happened, therefore it can happen again,' wrote Primo Levi, who
endured and survived the concentration camp at Auschwitz Birkenau. As
we honour the victims of the Holocaust, we must also acknowledge the
need to prevent the recurrence of anti-Semitism and all forms of
racial and religious hatred and discrimination on Friday,” the UN
rights chief stated.

It is therefore essential to uphold independent rule of law
institutions and a free press, which can hold leaders to account and
establish a truthful record of the facts. It is crucial to maintain
respect for human rights, especially in respect of the right to life
and wellbeing of all people regardless of their origin or ethnicity.

“Above all, education must be at the core of all efforts to combat
anti-Semitism, racism, and all forms of discrimination. Although an
important part of that work must be centred on schools and other
academic fora, education in this sense must extend far more broadly,
so that we can undo the stereotypes which generate so much injustice
and prejudice throughout society,” stressed Zeid.

A Holocaust Memorial Ceremony is taking place on Friday at UN
Headquarters in New York, hosted by the Under-Secretary-General for
Communications and Public Information, Cristina Gallach. Speakers are
expected to include Peter Thomson, President of the UN General
Assembly; Danny Danon, Permanent Representative of Israel to the UN;
and Michele J. Sison, United States Deputy Representative to the UN.

Noah Klieger, a 90-year old Holocaust survivor, will be keynote
speaker. Cantor Israel Singer, of Congregation Temple Emanu-El of
Closter, New Jersey, will recite the memorial prayers and be
accompanied by violinist Artur Kaganovskiy. The ceremony will include
music by guitarist Gary Lucas and vocalist Rachel Joselson, Doctor of
Music Arts and Associate Professor at the University of Iowa.

Credit: United Nations




Honouring Holocaust victims, UN chief Guterres pledges to battle anti-Semitism, all forms of hatred

India Blooms News Service
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