MESSAGE BY KIYO AKASAKA, UNDER-SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLIC INFORMATION
TO THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ANTI-SEMITISM AND HOLOCAUST DENIAL
18-19 NOVEMBER 2010, DUBLIN
One cannot begin to understand the origins of the Holocaust without cknowledging the anti-Semitism that led to it. And, one cannot understand the dangers f anti-Semitism without learning the universal lessons of the Holocaust. Ignoring these facts increases the risk that they will be repeated.
Holocaust denial is anti-Semitism. It wounds the people who suffer the most – the survivors. And it extends this hurt to every Jewish person, as a heartless reminder of unspeakable cruelty and the ruthless attempt to eliminate every member of their families.
Anti-Semitism fuels hatred and hatred kills. Yet it persists.
It persists because we have not yet learned. We have not fully understood that discrimination against people anywhere hurts people everywhere. Minorities of all kinds continue to be persecuted and murdered. And too often, we have been indifferent.
The United Nations takes this indifference to heart. As Secretary-General Ban said, earlier this year, “the United Nations Outreach Programme on the Holocaust is working closely with survivors to ensure that their stories are heard and heeded as a warning of the consequences of anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination. Holocaust survivors will not be with us forever, but the legacy of their survival must live on. We must preserve their stories, through memorials, through education, most of all through robust efforts to prevent genocide and other grave crimes.”
The Programme also partners with teachers and civil society groups in furthering Holocaust education. These partnerships help to weaken Holocaust deniers, who in the face of the truth, can no longer claim ignorance of historical fact. The Programme’s “Discussion Papers Journal” provides a forum for scholars to examine the causes of the Holocaust and its relevance today. It encourages the international community to work together to help stop crimes against humanity, including genocide.
I congratulate the organizers of this important International Conference on Anti-Semitism and Holocaust Denial and encourage all of the scholars and experts here to continue to examine these issues, work to dispel myths, and fight discrimination.
Your cause is the United Nations’ own.