UN Resident Coordinator speech at Holocaust Remembrance Day

Jan 30, 2014

UN Resident Coordinator speech at 

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Stephen Tull, UN Resident Coordinator

29 January 2014


Ambassador Tasman, Excellencies, my fellow activists for peace and justice,


1.    General Assembly Resolution (A/RES/60/7, 1 November 2005) established 27 January the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust


2.    The resolution recalled that the United Nations was a firm global response to World War II and the Holocaust. Its purpose being "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.”


3.    The UN quickly defined genocide and declared it a crime under international law. [1946-47 resolutions; 1948 est. of Convention on Prevention and Punishment of Genocide]


4.    The 2005 resolution also recalled that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stressed the equality, universality, and inalienability of those rights because their selective violation had made the Holocaust possible. [1948]


5.    The Holocaust was the unthinkable yet it came to be. Today, we remember that historical, human catastrophe and crime in order to:  honor, pay tribute, and mourn; and to prevent future genocide.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

6.    We must never forget the Holocaust, and we must actively combat—through education, information, and collective action—the threat of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.


7.    The international community is not nimble in responding to such crimes. But let us have hope. There has been progress.

  •  Starting with the 1948 Convention on Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, the UN and other international and regional organizations are institutionalizing protections, to ensure international order and protect people and peoples.
  •  International criminal law has grown and been applied, in the International Criminal Court and the Tribunals for former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.
  • The UN Security Council has, over the past 15 years, become seized with the Protection of Civilians in armed conflict, (as intended in its founding), and Member States and non-state actors are aware and active on this. The overall aim of POC is to make it so that heroic acts of protection, about which we have heard tonight, are in the future not only performed as exceptional acts of solidarity or charity, but are seen as an obligation under international law.

8.    So let us today mourn and honor the past, and commit to vigilance and collective action for a better tomorrow. 

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