Germany lauds unanimous UN declaration of int'l Holocaust Day

November 8th, 2005

Link: http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasen/spages/640300.html

The Articles below from Ha'aretz and Jerusalem Post announced the creation of an Internation Holocaust Memorial Day by the UN. The motion passed unanimously. Also in the motion is a rejection of Holocaust denial and condemnation of discrimination and violence based on religion or ethnicity. This motion was the first Israeli-initiated resolution to pass in the General Assembly.

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Germany lauds unanimous UN declaration of int'l Holocaust Day

By Shlomo Shamir and Amiram Barkat, Haaretz Correspondents, Haaretz Service and Reuters

NEW YORK - Germany has praised the United Nations General Assembly for unanimously approving a proposal to set January 27 as the "International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust."

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said that for the German people, the Holocaust will forever be a dark time in their history demanding special treatment.

The decision was made at the end of a special General Assembly session that began at UN headquarters in New York on Monday.

January 27, 1945 is the day that allied forces liverated the Nazi concentration and extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Jewish Agency Chairman Zeev Bielski applauded the UN General Assembly resolution.

"Sixty years after the Holocaust, the nations of the world are uniting to preserve its memory for future generations," Bielski told Haaretz. "This is an important decision taking into account the fact that the number of Holocaust survivors is decreasing every year as they pass on and this historic decision will guarantee that the memory of the Holocaust and its lessons will not be erased."

Bielski congratulated Israeli ambassador to the UN, Danny Gillerman, on having paved the way for the adoption of this resolution.

Gillerman also thanked the members of the General Assembly "at this unique and historic moment ... for adopting this unprecedented resolution."

As the world marks the 60th anniversaries this year of both the founding of the UN and the end of World War II, Gillerman said the Nazi slaughter of six million people, the vast majority of them Jews, must never be forgotten.

"I feel moved and privileged to present this historic resolution today, as an Israeli, a Jew, a human being and the child of Holocaust victims," Gillerman said in introducing the resolution.

There was no vote on the resolution. Instead, General Assembly President Jan Eliasson banged the gavel signifying consensus after asking whether there were any objections and hearing none.

The resolution asked UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to establish a special public relations plan within the next six months, which will work to advance Holocaust commemoration so as to prevent genocide from taking place.

The resolution also urges individual countries to develop educational programs to try to prevent future acts of genocide.

It also rejects any denial of the Holocaust, condemns discrimination and violence based on religion or ethnicity, and calls for the UN to establish an outreach program to encourage the public to engage in Holocaust remembrance activities.

The resolution, introduced Monday, was sponsored initially by Israel, the United States, Australia, Canada and Russia. Since the draft resolution was distributed for the first time in August, 91 UN member nations have added their names, including eight Muslim countries and several countries in Africa and South America.

Egypt, Indonesia and Malaysia said they supported the resolution but atrocities against Christians and Muslims deserved equal attention.

After the vote, Egypt's UN Ambassador Maged Abdelaziz complained that the day should commemorate all victims of genocide - "without discrimination on the basis of religious or ethnic background" - and not be limited just to victims of the Holocaust.

"We believe that no one should have the monopoly of suffering," he said.

Jordan's UN Ambassador Prince Zeid al-Hussein called the Holocaust "a crime of the most colossal proportions" that was inflicted on European soil by Europeans against Europeans.

But he said it should not be used as a moral justification for the "continued domination of one people by another," an obvious reference to Israel and the Palestinians.

U.S. Ambassador John Bolton, in a speech on Monday, recalled the recent comments of at Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that sparked international condemnation.

"When a president or a member state can brazenly and hatefully call for a second Holocaust by suggesting that Israel, the Jewish homeland, should be wiped off the map, it is clear that not all have learned the lessons of the Holocaust and that much work remains to be done," Bolton said.

Germany's UN Ambassador Gunter Pleuger called the Holocaust "the very darkest chapter in the history of Germany." And Austria, Romania and France all recalled their history of collaboration with the Nazis.

"We feel the agony of knowing that our country lost so many of its Jewish citizens to the Holocaust," Austria's UN Ambassador Gerhard Pfanzelter said. "At the same time we feel the pain of realizing that far too many Austrians took part in this greatest of all crimes."

The resolution is the first of its kind, spurring diplomats in New York to call the move "historic."

In addition to setting a world Holocaust Day, the resolution calls on member nations to develop educational programs to teach the next generations the lessons of the Holocaust, in an effort to prevent acts of genocide in the future. The resolution also includes a clause opposing any steps to deny the Holocaust as a historical event, in whole or in part. The resolution also expresses appreciation for all countries that acted to preserve and maintain sites that existed during the Holocaust, such as death camps, concentration camps and forced labor camps.

The effort to declare an international Holocaust Day is consistent with the UN commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II and the liberation of the concentration camps, which coincides with the 60th anniversary of the United Nations, say those who drafted the resolution. In January the United Nations held a special session dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

General Assembly President Jan Eliasson and other speakers noted, however, that the Holocaust and World War II did not mark the end of crimes of genocide. The Holocaust "must, therefore, be a unifying historic warning around which we must rally," Eliasson said. "We can't continue to repeat saying 'Never again.'"

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UN adopts Int'l Holocaust Day
By HERB KEINON
UNITED NATIONS
Nov. 1, 2005 8:03 | Updated Nov. 7, 2005 16:39

It took 56 years, but the UN General Assembly on Tuesday finally passed an Israeli-initiated resolution.

After 10-months of preparatory work, two days of discussion and an impassioned speech by Ambassador to the UN Dan Gillerman, the General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution declaring January 27 - the day in 1945 when Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated - as a worldwide day to commemorate the Holocaust.

"I feel moved and privileged to present this historic resolution today, as an Israeli, a Jew, a human being and a child of a family of Holocaust victims," Gillerman said Monday when presenting the resolution.

"The United Nations was founded on the ashes of the Holocaust," he said. "The UN bears a special responsibility to ensure that the Holocaust and its lessons are never forgotten and that this tragedy will forever stand as a warning to all people of the dangers of hatred, bigotry, racism and prejudice."

The resolution urges individual countries to develop educational programs to try to prevent future acts of genocide. It also rejects any denial of the Holocaust, condemns discrimination and violence based on religion or ethnicity, and calls for the UN to establish an outreach program to encourage the public to engage in Holocaust remembrance activities.

Roni Leshno Ya'ar, the Foreign Ministry's deputy director-general for the UN and international organizations, said the UN will budget some $350,000 for this purpose over the next two years.

This was the first time an Israeli-initiated resolution ever even made it to the floor of the General Assembly for a vote, let alone won resounding approval. The vote came less than a week after the Security Council, in an unprecedented censuring of a Muslim country for statements against Israel, condemned Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's call to wipe Israel off the map.

US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton made reference to Ahmadinejad's comments in his speech on Monday.

"When a president or a member state can brazenly and hatefully call for a second Holocaust by suggesting that Israel, the Jewish homeland, should be wiped off the map, it is clear that not all have learned the lessons of the Holocaust and that much work remains to be done," he said.

The resolution was sponsored initially by Israel, the US, Australia, Canada and Russia. Gillerman said Tuesday it had 104 garnered co-sponsors.

Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom termed the vote "historic."

"For the first time since the establishment of Israel, the UN General Assembly has adopted an unprecedented Israeli resolution. This is a very significant step, both in the war against anti-Semitism and for the commemoration of the Holocaust, and in promoting Israel's international position," he said.

Shalom said the vote showed that the UN, after 60 years, finally realized the importance of acknowledging the lessons of the Holocaust, and finally treated Israel as an equal member in the international community.

Leshno Ya'ar said the challenge now facing the ministry would be to implement the resolution within the UN framework and in each country.

After the vote, Gillerman thanked the 191 members of the General Assembly "at this unique and historic moment... for adopting this unprecedented resolution."

More than a dozen countries spoke during the debate on the resolution which began Monday and ended Tuesday morning. While all speakers backed the general thrust of the draft, there were calls for its scope to be expanded beyond the Holocaust to incorporate other war crimes, acts of genocide or ethnic cleansing.

Egyptian Ambassador Maged Abdelaziz complained that the day should commemorate all victims of genocide and not be limited just to victims of the Holocaust.

Why should there be a remembrance day for the Jews and not for Christians and Muslims, he asked, stating that "no one had a monopoly on suffering."

Indonesia's ambassador said it would be preferable if the intention to institute Holocaust remembrance within the UN system also gave simultaneous attention to other tragedies.

Jordanian Ambassador Prince Zeid al-Hussein, meanwhile, called the Holocaust "a crime of the most colossal proportions." But, in a clear allusion to Israel and the Palestinians, he said that, unfortunately and by contrast, "never again‚ was also sometimes used as a form of moral justification for the implementation of some policies, the effect of which was the continued domination of one people by another."

Despite these sentiments, General Assembly President Jan Eliasson of Sweden banged the gavel signifying consensus after asking whether there were any objections and hearing none.

The UN was "erected from the ashes of the Second World War," he said, and part of its original mission was to make sure such an "unspeakable atrocity" as the Holocaust never occurred again.

The Holocaust "must, therefore, be a unifying historic warning around which we must rally," he said. "We can't continue to repeat saying never again."

Michael Melchior, the deputy minister responsible for Israel's response to anti-Semitism, said: "This important declaration by the UN comes very late, but better late than never. By declaring this day, the United Nations is recognizing the importance of dealing with anti-Semitism, which gave birth to the most terrible crime in the history of humanity."

Melchior said that the effectiveness of this decision would be tested by its implementation, "first and foremost in the educational curriculums around the world and particularly in those countries where anti-Semitism is growing."

Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev issued a statement welcoming the resolution, saying that by adopting the resolution the UN had "expressed its recognition of the importance of Holocaust remembrance as well as the role that Holocaust education plays in safeguarding basic human values."

AP contributed to this report.

UN accused of being too pre-occupied with the rights of terrorists

August 24th, 2005

Link: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,22989-1748672,00.html

Charles Clarke reacted angrily today after a senior United Nations official warned that his plans to deport foreign extremists breached international human rights obligations.

A UN official objected to the Home Secretary's announcement that "preachers of hate" are soon to be deported from the UK.

But the UN’s special rapporteur on torture, Manfred Nowak, accused the Government of trying to circumvent its duty not to deport people to countries where they could face torture or abuse.

The Home Secretary has different priorities to those of the UN.

Today the Home Secretary retorted furiously that the UN was too pre-occupied with the human rights of terrorists when it should be more concerned about their victims.

"The human rights of those people who were blown up on the Tube in London on July 7 are, to be quite frank, more important than the human rights of the people who committed those acts," he told the ITV News Channel.

"He Set the Stage for UN Holocaust Commemoration Remembrance"

August 22nd, 2005

Source: http://www.wiesenthal.com/site/apps/nl/content.asp?c=fwLYKnN8LzH&b=312458&content_id={3D56D897-E969-4B28-9FCE-7213BC39A675}&notoc=1
Two years ago, UN Human Rights Commissioner, Sergio Vieira de Mello, was murdered by suicide bombers in Baghdad.

Vieira de Mello's last public appearance before leaving for Iraq was as keynote speaker to a Wiesenthal Center-UNESCO joint international conference on Educating for Tolerance - The Case of Resurgent Antisemitism, held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris. At the conference, de Mello spoke of the Holocaust and the singling out of the State of Israel in the international arena. He also instructed his Secretariat to designate Dr Shimon Samuels, the Wiesenthal Center's Director for International Liaison, as "Expert Witness on Antisemitism" for the group responsible for carrying out the program of action developed at the UN World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa in 2001.

At a December 2003 meeting of this group, Dr. Samuels recalled the antisemitic paroxysm of the Durban conference, and called on the UN "to fix an annual Day of Holocaust Commemoration and for the Elimination of Antisemitism, for each 27 January." Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp, was liberated by the Allies on January 27, 1945. The UN Human Rights Commission's final document on the Durban process officially included this proposal of the Wiesenthal Center which was then presented to the UN General Assembly.

Australia, Canada, Israel, Russia and the United States have now requested that the proposal be debated at the 60th General Assembly session which opens on September 13th.

United Nations Bankrolled Latest Anti-israel Propaganda

August 17th, 2005

Link: http://www.nysun.com/article/18710

The United Nations bankrolled the production of thousands of banners, bumper stickers, mugs, and T-shirts bearing the slogan "Today Gaza and Tomorrow the West Bank and Jerusalem," which have been widely distributed to Palestinian Arabs in the Gaza Strip, according to a U.N. official.

The U.N. support of the Palestinian Authority's propaganda operation in the midst of the Israeli evacuation of Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip has provoked outrage from Israeli and Jewish leaders, who are blaming Turtle Bay for propagating an inflammatory message that they say encourages Palestinian Arab violence.

The U.N. denies knowing what exactly their money is spent on.

A UNDP spokesman, William Orme, said his office gave money to the Palestinian Withdrawal Committee to "help the Palestinian Authority communicate to the populace about the withdrawal and its economic and social impact."

The money was funneled to the committee through a subagency called Program of Assistance to the Palestinian People. U.N. officials were not told about the propaganda campaign or about the slogan, he said.

Did I say 'their money'? As the director of international affairs for the American Jewish Congress, David Twersky, pointed out, it's not just 'theirs' - it's other people's tax money.

"How come they don't know what's happening to their money?" he said. "Where's the audit? Where's the transparency? How could responsible U.N. officials living off of tax dollars have the chutzpah to say I don't know what they're spending their money on?"

Call to back UN genocide reform

August 15th, 2005

Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4150002.stm

Oxfam has urged the US, Russia, India and Brazil to support a UN reform that would require the organisation to act quickly to prevent genocide.

The international charity accuses the four countries of blocking UN plans designed to stop atrocities such as the 1994 Rwanda genocide happening again.

This is one of the reforms due to be discussed at a UN summit next month and the proposal would oblige the international community to take action to prevent genocide if governments failed to do so.

According to Oxfam, other countries opposing the move include Syria, Iran, Cuba, Pakistan, Egypt and Algeria.

Oxfam also claims that the US, while publicly supporting the reform, is seeking a watered down version, which would render it ineffective, but governments supporting the call for strong language in the draft statement include Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Nigeria, Kenya, Chile, Peru, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Canada and the EU.