Ministerial Conference - International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)

Brussels , 

As delivered



Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Council of Europe was founded in 1949 to ensure that human rights are protected against any abuse and misuse of power by the state.

To ensure that individuals and groups within our societies are safe against state orchestrated hate and violence.

Promoting and protecting human rights in Europe was a response to what our continent witnessed around the Second World War.

In part the European Convention on Human Rights was a response to the holocaust itself.

But fighting racism and hate is a never ending task.

Seventy five years later, antisemitism is on the rise threatening Jewish people and communities and our democracies as a whole.

Our European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, ECRI, has long drawn attention to the need for determined action against this scourge.

So remembrance is important.

It is a tribute to the millions of victims of the Holocaust.

It is imperative to our dignity.

Remembrance is also important because it helps us to understand the genesis of evil, its potential to return and the fragility of our democraties.

It is essential to stability and peace, for living together in Europe.

These are guiding principles for the Council of Europe; they underpin our fight against discrimination and hate speech, our work on education for democratic citizenship, our history teaching programme, including training of teachers, the European Cultural Route of Jewish Heritage and more.

An approach indeed underlined by the conclusions of our 47 foreign ministers last year in Helsinki, and now by the finalisation of a Recommentation on “Passing on Remembrance of the Holocaust and preventing crimes against humanity” by the Committee of Ministers.

In this endeavour, the 2020 IHRA Ministerial Declaration of today, is very timely and welcome.

This is why we are pleased to be here today and are determined to continue to work with IHRA and other partners in this important endeavour in the future.