The United Nations, founded 60 years ago on the principle of "never again" after the horrors of the Nazi holocaust, announced today that it will hold a special General Assembly session later this month to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan said a majority of Member States have agreed to the request to convene the special session on 24 January and he called on all countries to give the session their full support.
Up to 6 million Jews are estimated to have died in the Nazi concentration camps as part of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler's "final solution," as well as hundreds of thousands of others deemed undesirable due to ethnic origin, religious beliefs or other reasons, including Roma people, gays and communists.
"This will be an important occasion, since the United Nations was founded as the world was learning the full horror of the camps, and is dedicated to doing everything in its power to protect human dignity and prevent any such horror from happening again," Mr. Annan said in a statement issued by his spokesman.
Last June he issued a strong call for vigilance against anti-Semitism as he opened a seminar at UN Headquarters in New York as part of a series on "Unlearning Intolerance." "The rise of anti-Semitism anywhere is a threat to people everywhere, thus, in fighting anti-Semitism we fight for the future of all humanity," he said then.
"We must make this vision a reality while we still have survivors of the holocaust among us," he said, introducing one such death camp survivor, Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel.