UNESCO renews commitment to counter Holocaust denial and distortion

UNESCO took part in the ministerial meeting of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) in Brussels on 19 January to renew its commitment in countering Holocaust distortion and trivialization, antisemitism and other forms of discrimination.

Aiming to ensure that the world remembers the Holocaust and contributes to efficient genocide prevention, ministers and high-ranking government representatives from 35 countries adopted the IHRA 2020 Ministerial Declaration. This new set of measures and principles includes specifically:

  • Accepting responsibility to counter Holocaust denial and distortion, antisemitism, and all forms of racism and discrimination that undermine fundamental democratic principles
  • Leading efforts to promote education, remembrance and research on the Holocaust and the genocide of the Roma and Sinti to counter the influence of historical distortion, hate speech and incitement to violence and hatred
  • Identifying, safeguarding and providing archival material, testimonies and authentic sites for education purposes, commemoration and research

Facing an alarming, global rise of antisemitic attitudes, including expressions of Holocaust denial and distortion, taking action to address these resentments and discriminations is imperative for UNESCO. At the ministerial meeting, UNESCO`s Assistant Director General for Education Stefania Giannini underlined: “Education is the way forward. It can provide a forum to address past violence, understand the dynamics that may lead societies to collapse. It can also promote the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes that can help prevent current day group-targeted violence.”

UNESCO is a permanent partner of the IHRA. In cooperation they published new Recommendations on Teaching and Learning about the Holocaust in December 2019.

UNESCO is committed to promoting Holocaust and genocide education as a means to sensitize learners for the causes, dynamics and consequences of such crimes and to strengthen their resilience against all forms of discrimination. Find out more about how to address antisemitism through education and education about the holocaust and prevention of genocide.