UNESCO pledges to #ProtectTheFacts on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Each year on 27 January, as a tribute to the victims of the Holocaust, UNESCO reaffirms its commitment to counter antisemitism and other forms of discrimination. With antisemitism on the rise globally, and other forms of discrimination constantly threatening the realization of fundamental human rights, there is a growing realization that we need not rest easy as much work is yet to be done to counter intolerance.

In keeping with the theme for this year, “Facing the Aftermath: Recovery and Reconstitution after the Holocaust”, the outreach activities focused on educating the wider public about the repercussions of hate crimes.

Together with UNIC New Delhi and a consortium of diplomatic missions in India, the UNESCO New Delhi office organized a formal commemoration ceremony on 27 January, where the UN Secretary-General’s message was delivered by Director and UNESCO representative, Eric Falt.  Diplomats and government officials joined in to honour the memory of the victims of the Holocaust at the virtual commemoration ceremony.

Later this week, a virtual engagement with 500 school students from across India will take place to illuminate the role of Holocaust education in countering hate speech. At the event, three episodes from Anne Frank’s video diary will be screened for the student audience, following which there will be an interactive Q&A led by UNESCO New Delhi Director and representatives from the collaborating embassies.

Defined by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance as a virulent expression of contemporary antisemitism, Holocaust denial and distortion is becoming increasingly widespread online and offline. Therefore, we must stand up in the face of hatred, bigotry, and discrimination by learning the facts.  To honour the victims of the Holocaust, UNESCO globally launched a campaign jointly developed by the United Nations, International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and the European Commission called #ProtectTheFacts to raise awareness of the general public to the dangers of Holocaust distortion.

These joint activities build on UNESCO’s programmes to educate about the Holocaust and genocide, and subsequently train the youth to act as leaders against racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance.

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