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Annan Appeals For Global Tolerance

On Anniversary Of World War Ii Massacre, Annan Appeals For Global Tolerance

New York, Sep 27 2006 1:00PM

Using the anniversary of a notorious massacre of Jews and others in Ukraine in World War II to deplore the recent increase in extremism and intolerance, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today made an impassioned appeal for pluralism and mutual respect around the world, decrying those who deny the Holocaust.

“The massacre of many thousands of Jews, Soviet prisoners of war, Ukrainian nationalists, Roma and others at Babyn Yar was one of the worst horrors of the Second World War,” Mr. Annan said in message to the ceremony commemorating the 65th anniversary of the tragedy, delivered by UN Resident Coordinator in Ukraine Francis O'Donnell.

“If we are to have any chance of sparing future generations from similar tragedies, we must keep memory alive,” he added, warning that communities under assault must not be left alone to defend themselves.

“Even today, after the Holocaust and other horrors of the last century, we see people around the world targeted for brutality and violence simply because of their ethnic, religious, national or other identity. We see Jews in many places, including in Europe, living in fear for their safety and freedoms. We see Muslims and others fῡcing attacks and discrimination.

He noted that politicians in several countries have found anti-immigrant appeals a path to electoral success and added: “We must reject the false claims of those who say the Holocaust never happened or has been exaggerated. Everyone must speak out.”

Last year Mr. Annan voiced shock over reported remarks by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad casting doubt on the truth of the Holocaust, and the General Assembly passed a resolution rejecting any denial of the Holocaust as an historical event, either in full or in part.

Today the Secretary-General stressed UN’s wide-ranging, long-standing work to promote and protect human rights, highlighting the “Alliance of Civilizations,” launched last year and co-sponsored by Spain and Turkey, which aims to bridge divides and overcome prejudices and polarizations that potentially threaten world peace.


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