Donnerstag, 22.02.2024 17:29 Uhr

Osce and International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Verantwortlicher Autor: Carlo Marino Rome/Vienna , 27.01.2023, 17:04 Uhr
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Rome/Vienna [ENA] The OSCE said on today’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day that greater international co-operation is needed to counter Holocaust denial and distortion, not only to combat hateful ideologies but also to defend democracy, “Today we honour the memory of the six million Jews and all other victims brutally murdered in the Holocaust for who they were, what they believed or even who they loved. The past year has

represented yet another bone-chilling reminder that Europe in the 21st Century is not immune to new mass atrocities when the Holocaust is distorted, the UN Charter violated and the Helsinki Final Act disrespected,” said OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani. “The Holocaust was about millions of men, women and children murdered for not fitting into fascist ideas. Holocaust remembrance and education must continue to focus on people when addressing anti-Semitism in all its forms,” Osmani added, “with the first Chairpersonship event in 2023 devoted to this end.” The phenomenon of Holocaust distortion seeks to minimize the crimes and impact of the Holocaust.

As well as fuelling an increase in anti-Semitism, it threatens our democracies by spreading disinformation and undermining the mutual trust, respect and tolerance that are among their founding principles. As the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust is marked worldwide, young people’s knowledge of the tragedy of the Holocaust is declining at a time when there are ever fewer survivors left to talk about their experiences.

At the same time, Holocaust denial and distortion are increasingly reaching the political mainstream, with social media posts that excuse, minimize or misrepresent the known historical record of the Holocaust spreading online swiftly and often unchecked. “Holocaust denial and distortion have dire consequences for our societies and our democracy,” said Matteo Mecacci, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). “Trivializing, diminishing and misappropriating the Holocaust not only diminishes the suffering of its victims, but also hampers our ability to understand the causes of genocide and prevent it from happening again.

By spreading disinformation, it undermines trust and respect between people and therefore also the quality of democratic participation.” ODIHR recently joined other international organizations including the United Nations and the European Commission in #ProtectTheFacts, a global awareness-raising campaign created by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance that focuses on countering Holocaust distortion.“Today we face the dual challenge of politicians who distort the reality of the Holocaust to fit nationalist and populist narratives and a growing number of young adults who are ignorant of the most basic facts of the Jewish genocide,” said Rabbi Andrew Baker, Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office on

Combating Anti-Semitism. “On this Holocaust Remembrance Day, we must redouble our education efforts as the very future of democracy depends on an informed electorate.” All OSCE countries have unequivocally condemned intolerance and anti-Semitism, and have committed to promoting effective measures aimed at their eradication. Current challenges to combating anti-Semitism across the OSCE region will be discussed at an OSCE-wide conference on 6 and 7 February organized by the North Macedonia OSCE Chair-in-Office in consultation with OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights .

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