World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Holocaust Memorial Day: Vigilance to Prevent New Genocide

On Holocaust Memorial Day, UN Calls For Unflagging Vigilance to Prevent New Genocide

New York, Jan 27 2014 - The United Nations today paid tribute to the 6 million Jews and countless others massacred in the Nazi Holocaust with a solemn ceremony in the General Assembly Hall, a rebuke to Holocaust deniers, and a warning from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of the perils of anti-Semitism and hatred of any kind.

“The United Nations was founded to prevent any such horror from happening again. Yet tragedies from Cambodia to Rwanda to Srebrenica show that the poison of genocide still flows,” he said in a message marking the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, held every year on 27 January, the date on which Auschwitz-Birkenau, one of the worst German Nazi concentration and extermination camps, was liberated in 1945.

Mr. Ban recalled his own visit to the camp in November as he walked through the “infamous” gate bearing the metal slogan ‘arbeit macht frei’ (work makes [you] free) and stood near the crematoria that burned the corpses of so many victims. “I will never forget my visit,” he said.

“I saw the horrific remnants of the machinery of genocide, as well as moving images of European Jewish life in the 1930s - weddings, family meals, rituals, other scenes of simple daily life - all extinguished through systematic murder unique in human history.

“I saw the barracks where Jews, Roma, Sinti, homosexuals, dissidents, prisoners of war and persons with disabilities spent their final days in the most brutal conditions,” he added, calling for unflagging vigilance against bigotry, extremist ideologies, communal tensions and discrimination against minorities.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, recalling her own visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau, has a “simple message” for all those who deny that the Holocaust happened, or who engage in anti-Semitism and other forms of religious, racial or ethnic intolerance or discrimination.

“Visit this historic and terrible place,” she said in a message marking the Day. “It is a truly humbling and harrowing experience to feel the chill of evil and immense tragedy that permeates its walls and grounds. It is important to feel - not just to know in an abstract way - where such behaviour can lead.”

“Each year, on 27 January, we take time to remember the victims of the Holocaust and to reflect on how it came about, and how the world at large failed so dismally to prevent it. The Holocaust stands as a searing reminder of the perils of discrimination and intolerance, and of just how powerful and deadly the incitement to racial hatred can be,” she added, stressing the imperative of reacting quickly and firmly discrimination and violence against individuals and entire communities wherever they occur.

Ms. Pillay noted that despite the revelation of the full horror of the Holocaust, the flames of hatred and persecution have risen again to consume other countries, people and societies – from the killing fields of Cambodia, to the forests of Srebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the hills of Rwanda.

“Even today, in many places around the world, people are persecuted or discriminated against because of their race, religion, origin, sexual orientation or political opinions, and in countries such as Syria, the Central African Republic and South Sudan, people are still being maimed and slaughtered because of the group to which they belong,” she warned.

“We need to stop turning a blind eye to the warning signs of serious human rights violations whenever and wherever they appear. That much, at least, we can do to honour all those millions murdered en masse by their fellow human beings, who attempted to justify war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide with hate-inspired political philosophies and propaganda.”

Opening the commemorative ceremony, General Assembly President John Ashe stressed that the Day underscored the international community’s determination that “such unfathomable horror and unspeakable cruelty” would have no place in this world.

“Today, we are gathered here, to bear witness for all those who were brutalized, who suffered and who died, and we are also here to bear witness so that we the living never allow such a terrible tragedy to occur in our shared human history,” he said.

“We will not forget them, we have not forgotten them, and they have not left us in vain. The sheer ferocity and pervasive cruelty of the Holocaust brought to fore a deep and powerful moral imperative that crimes of such enormity must be forever eliminated from this planet.

“This moral imperative calls on the international community to ensure that this horrendous crime against humanity, including various subsequent derivatives thereof, must never be repeated in any way, shape or form.”

For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

South Sudan: UN Agencies Reach More Than Half A Million

South Sudan: UN Agencies Reach More than Half a Million People with Life-Saving Aid More>>

Israeli Plans To Expand Its Illegal Settlement Enterprises

PLO Executive Committee member, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, strongly denounced Israeli plans to expand its illegal settlement enterprise by approving the construction of 2,561 units in the settlement of Givat Hamatos. More>>

ALSO:

Ecuador: Villagers Plan To Seize Chevron's $106M Arbitral Award

QUITO, ECUADOR, Sep. 30 /CSRwire/ - In what could be a huge boost to their campaign to force Chevron to comply with a $9.5 billion environmental judgment in Ecuador, rainforest villagers plan to enforce a court order directing them to take possession ... More>>

World Grossly Ill-Prepared To Deal Ebola Outbreak

Leaders from Sierra Leone and Liberia, the two countries, along with Guinea at the frontlines of the battle against the unprecedented Ebola outbreak in West Africa, urged the General Assembly today ensure the United Nations mounted a stronger, better coordinated response “to end this grave threat to our collective survival.”More>>

ALSO:

  • Save The Children - Save the Children Builds Its First Ebola Treatment Centre


  • Israel’s Netanyahu Warns Against ‘Militant Islam’

    29 September 2014 – From the podium of the General Assembly today Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the world of the grave threat he said it faced from militant Islam’s desire to dominate the planet, be they Sunni extremists or ... More>>

    Deputy PM of Syria Victims Of ISIL Brutality 'Waiting On Us To Act'

    As the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militant began carrying their slaughter in the Middle East, “they might have surprised many of the countries present here, but not…us,” the Deputy Prime Minister of Syria told the United Nations General Assembly, underscoring today that the time has come for the world to stand united and tackle the threat head-on.More>>

    Not A Single Child Untouched By Recent Gaza Conflict

    There is not a single child who has not been adversely affected by the recent conflict in Gaza, where children suffer from bedwetting, difficulties in sleeping, nightmares, a loss of appetite, and display more aggressive behaviour at school, an independent United Nations human rights expert said todayMore>>


    Ebola: UN Readies To Start Work As Death Toll Surpasses 3,000

    Ebola response: medical supplies, including protective equipment and essential medicine, are loaded onto trucks at the Lungi International Airport in Freetown, capital of Sierra Leone. Photo: UNICEF/Sulaiman Stephens More>>

    Get More From Scoop

     
     
     
     
     
    World
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news