Today, as the world commemorates the first annual Holocaust Remembrance Day, the United Nations marks the occasion with various events honoring those who died in the Holocaust and a special session of the General Assembly. The United Nations held a week of global events including a candle light vigil on Thursday night at the UN Headquarters and a memorial ceremony on Friday morning. Holocaust Remembrance Day, created by UN Resolution 60/7, was unanimously approved by the General Assembly on November 1, 2005.
“The UN-sponsored resolution creating Holocaust Remembrance Day honors the legacy of those lost during this horrendous period in history, and marks the world’s efforts towards building a peaceful future,” said Senator Timothy E. Wirth, United Nations Foundation President. “The United Nations was formed in the aftermath of World War II as a platform for peace. It is fitting, therefore, that the UN helps ensure that the world never forgets the Holocaust. This commemoration underscores anew the need for international cooperation to prevent crimes against humanity.”
Holocaust Remembrance Day comes on the heels of various other recent UN events, such as the July 2004 conference on anti-Semitism hosted by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, which brought together experts, religious leaders and wider civil society to meet the challenge of attaining tolerance through education and understanding. On Friday, January 27, 2006, Secretary-General Annan will attend a gathering of the International Auschwitz Committee in Zurich, Switzerland, meeting with survivors and their families.
The UN-Israel relationship has been strengthened in recent years, as evidenced by Israel’s acceptance in May 2000 of an invitation to become a temporary member of the Western European and Others regional Group (WEOG) and continuing with the election of Israeli Ambassador Dan Gillerman as Vice President of the 60th UN General Assembly in June of 2005. During this time, Israel has twice assumed the rotating chairmanship of WEOG and in 2004 was granted an indefinite extension of membership.
The UN webcast of events marking Holocaust Remembrance Day on Friday, January 27 at 10:30 AM can be viewed at www.un.org/webcast. A full schedule of events can be found at www.un.org/HolocaustRemembrance.