27 January 2006

In Message Commemorating Holocaust Victims, General Assembly President Calls for Commitment to Prevent Recurrence of Genocide in Future

NEW YORK, 26 January (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of the message by General Assembly President Jan Eliasson (Sweden) on the occasion of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, 27 January:

Today, we observe for the first time the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.  This event will take place every year on 27 January.  This follows the adoption without a vote of General Assembly resolution 60/7 on "Holocaust remembrance", on 1 November 2005.

This year's commemoration is of special significance.  It takes place only one year after the General Assembly's special session, on 24 January 2005, which marked the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps.

The liberation of the Nazi death camps revealed to the world one of the most horrendous crimes against humanity.  Auschwitz-Birkenau, Dachau, Sobibor and Treblinka are among the sites where the lives of millions of people were extinguished on political, religious or ethnic grounds.

Remembering this low point in human history is a solemn duty for all of us.  We must continue to exorcise the evil of the past.  In resolution 60/7, the General Assembly unequivocally "rejects any denial of the Holocaust as an historic event, either in full or part".

We must also commit ourselves to preventing the recurrence of genocide in the future, whenever and wherever it might occur.  We must remain vigilant.  The forces of hatred, bigotry and racism are still at work in the world.

It is a tragedy that the international community has not been able to stop new horrors in the years since the Holocaust.  This makes it all the more important that we remember the lessons of the Holocaust.  It must be a unifying cause around which we all can rally.

On this International Day of Commemoration, let us pay tribute to all the victims of the Holocaust.  Let us also honour the survivors.  And in looking back at this sombre page of history and other atrocities and crimes of genocide following it, let us join forces and recommit ourselves to building mutual respect and dignity for all.  Holocaust remembrance will strengthen us in this resolve.

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