The United Nations Secretary-General has called on the global community to stand against hatred in all its forms, and to reject the “lies and loathing” which led to the rise of Nazism and which fractures societies today.
New guidance from the UN human rights office, issued on Friday, sets out key actions to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people against discrimination during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Questioning details and attempting to distort actual history – its chronology or statistics – are just a few examples of Holocaust or genocide denial. Often, that “leaves a window open ... creates oxygen in the room for extremism” and it is a signal of “prejudice, racist and antisemitic beliefs”.
That’s the view of Sara Brown, Executive Director of Change, at the Centre for Holocaust, Human Rights and Genocide Education, in New Jersey, United States. She spoke to Ana Carmo of UN News about the importance of education and counter the hate narratives.
Some were workers, some teachers, some neighbours. Many ordinary people enabled the Holocaust simply by doing their jobs. Some made the choice to help, while others decided to join in with the persecution, betraying Jewish friends and classmates. But what “fuelled the Holocaust was antisemitism” which didn’t end with the defeat of the Nazis, and “continues today”, affecting all of society.
That’s according to Tad Stahnke,William and Sheila Konar Director of International Educational Outreach, part of the William Levine Family Institute for Holocaust Education, at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. He was at the United Nations Headquarters in New York for the Holocaust Remembrance Week and spoke to UN News’s Ana Carmo.
Mr. Stahnke started by talking about the Memorial Museum’s exhibition “Some were Neighbours”, which examines the role of ordinary people in the Holocaust, and the variety of motives that influenced individual choices. The traveling exhibit will be on view at the UN in New York, until 23 February, and across the world through the UN Information Centres.
When the Nazis invaded Poland, overnight, nine-year-old Theodor Meron became “a refugee, out of school, out of childhood and constantly in clear and present danger”, the man who would later become a Judge for International Criminal Tribunals told the United Nations Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony on Monday.
Commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, and the six million Jews and others murdered on Nazi orders during the Holocaust, UN Secretary-General António Guterres told a ceremony in New York on Monday that the world must “re-commit to preventing any repetition of those crimes”.
Fearless. Plain-speaking. Critical. Courageous. Unflinching. Unfair. Biased. Manipulative. These are some of the adjectives used to describe the Human Rights Council experts who fan out across the world to research, hold consultations and gather information on a vast range of human rights violations.
Since nobody is born to hate, intolerance can be prevented and unlearned, the UN Secretary-General said on Thursday, in a speech underlining his continued fight to stamp out antisemitism, racism and other forms of hatred.