Secretary-General’s Message on the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust – 27 January 2017

 

Watch the video message of United Nations Secretary-General Mr. Antonio Guterres.

Today, we honour the victims of the Holocaust, an incomparable tragedy in human history.

The world has a duty to remember that the Holocaust was a systematic attempt to eliminate the Jewish people and so many others.

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.

Tragically, and contrary to our resolve, anti-Semitism continues to thrive.  We are also seeing a deeply troubling rise in extremism, xenophobia, racism and anti-Muslim hatred.  Irrationality and intolerance are back.

This is in complete contrast to the universal values enshrined in the United Nations Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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.

Let us build a future of dignity and equality for all – and thus honour the victims of the Holocaust who we will never allow to be forgotten. [Ends]