Annan underlines Holocaust remembrance as crucial to preventing future genocides

12 July 2006 – The United Nations will expand its partnerships with civil society to commemorate the uniqueness of the Holocaust in human history and to draw from the Nazi German murder of millions of Jews and other minorities lessons to help to prevent future acts of genocide, Secretary-General Kofi Annan has told the General Assembly.

“Through the recollection of the journeys of those who perished and by sharing the experiences of the survivors at commemorative events, in exhibits and on web pages, the programme will show that the failure of mankind to prevent the Holocaust has direct relevance to the dangers of genocide that persist today,â€? Mr. Annan says in his report on the Assembly’s 2005 resolution instituting official remembrance of the tragedy.

He gives a breakdown of activities undertaken so far by the UN Department of Public Information (DPI), entrusted with carrying out an outreach programme in accordance with the resolution which established 27 January as Holocaust Remembrance Day.

These activities included a series of events and published articles during the week of 27 January itself both at UN Headquarters in New York and at UN outposts around the world, from Bangkok to Rome, Asmara in Eritrea to Vienna, Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso to Geneva and Yangon in Myanmar to Warsaw, Poland.

Other events held throughout the year have included exhibitions, conference and panel discussions in various countries.

Mr. Annan notes that DPI decided to conduct the outreach programme under the overall theme of Remembrance and Beyond. “This theme serves to highlight the main two elements of the programme – remembering the victims of the Holocaust and helping to prevent future acts of genocide,â€? he writes.

DPI will provide civil society organizations with materials developed by individual experts and institutions with a proven track record in the field of Holocaust remembrance, education and research, he says. The outreach programme will also continue to devise innovative means and methods by which its mandate to further Holocaust remembrance can be realized.

In its resolution designating 27 January, the Assembly reaffirmed that “the Holocaust, which resulted in the murder of one third of the Jewish people, along with countless members of other minorities, will forever be a warning to all people of the dangers of hatred, bigotry, racism and prejudice.â€?