The United Nations General Assembly today discussed a draft resolution designating 27 January Holocaust Remembrance Day, and urged all nations to develop ways to keep the memory alive so that future generations will help prevent similar acts of genocide.
Introduced by Israel, and co-sponsored by some 90 Member States, the draft resolution rejects any denial of the period in time as an historical event, urges States to develop educational programmes that will instruct future generations about the horrors of genocide, and condemns all manifestations of religious intolerance, incitement, harassment or violence against persons or communities based on ethnic origin or belief.
Jan Eliasson, President of the GA said that the memory of the Holocaust must be "a unifying historic warning around which we must rally; not only to recall the grievous crimes committed in human history but also to reaffirm our unfaltering reserve to prevent the recurrence of such crimes."
The Israel Representative to the UN, Dan Gillerman said that the Holocaust "brought us face to face with the full extent of man's capacity for inhumanity to his fellow man," and that it served as a "critical impetus" for the development of human rights, the drafting of landmark international conventions on Genocide, and the very establishment of the UN.
In addition to establishing "International Day of Commemoration to honour the victims of the Holocaust," the draft resolution also calls for actively preserving the sites of the Holocaust, including Nazi death camps, concentration camps, forced labour camps, and prisons, and to establish a UN programme of outreach and mobilization on Holocaust remembrance and education.
January 27, 1945 is currently officially recognized as a day of remembrance for Holocaust victims in several countries, including the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany, because it marks the day when an advancing Soviet army liberated the largest Nazi death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, in Poland.
"As the generation of Holocaust survivors and liberators dwindles, the torch of remembrance, of bearing witness, and of education must continue forward," Mr. Gillerman said.