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Europe still needs to draw lessons from the Holocaust

Statement
Strasbourg 26/01/2015
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Europe still needs to draw lessons from the Holocaust

70 years ago the Auschwitz death camp was liberated. What the world’s peoples saw shocked their conscience and made them realise man’s possible barbarity. The Holocaust resulted in the murder of one third of the Jewish population as well as of numerous persons belonging to other minority groups. Many vowed 'Never again'.

However genocides reoccurred in Europe and in other parts of the globe. Intolerance, racism and antisemitism not only continued unabated in Europe but they have also grown and been nurtured by political rhetoric that is unable or unwilling to heed the human rights standards and principles by which all European societies are bound.

I call on all European states to step up their efforts to inculcate, through systematic, continuous education and public awareness programmes, the lessons of the Holocaust in order to prevent the recurrence of genocide and serious human rights violations. At the same time, any denial of the Holocaust as a historical event should be rejected and condemned. All these efforts should be accompanied by effective measures sanctioning all manifestations of hate crime affecting persons or communities on the basis of their ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation or gender.

The times we are going through leave us no room for complacency. European states urgently need to draw the right lessons from their tragic recent history and act upon them with determination in order to be able to preserve their commonly agreed values and human rights principles.