26/1/2007- On the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day*, ENAR commemorates and honours the victims of the Holocaust and underlines the importance of remembering the Holocaust across Europe. “Holocaust Day is a key opportunity to condemn and remember the horror and tragedy of the Holocaust, but also to address the rise in anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, anti-gypsyism and other forms of racism and xenophobia in Europe in recent years”, said Bashy Quraishy, ENAR President. The EU must uphold the human rights values it stands for and should send out a strong political message. We therefore urge EU decision-makers to make 27th January European Holocaust Memorial Day, as proposed by the European Parliament**. This would encourage official remembrance of the Holocaust in all EU member states and awareness-raising of the fight against racism. In particular in the light of worrying trends of Holocaust denial and the recent rise in anti-Semitic acts in Europe, the EU must stand firm in condemning all acts of incitement to racial hatred and introduce a binding tool to counteract cross-border racism. “Holocaust denial is unacceptable and is an offence to the memory of Holocaust victims”, said Pascale Charhon, ENAR Director. In this context ENAR welcomes the German Presidency’s intention to resume the stalled negotiations over the Framework Decision on combating racism and xenophobia. “We urgently need a strong and effective legal tool to fight racist crime and hate speech”, added Bashy Quraishy. But Holocaust Day should also be an opportunity to reflect on the importance of the education of future generations: today’s youth must learn the lessons of the Holocaust. A 2005 OSCE study on Holocaust education *** shows that a lot still needs to be done to improve Shoah education in schools. “Integrating Holocaust education in the school curricula should be an integral part of the fight against racism and xenophobia”, said Pascale Charhon, adding that “the EU must be more proactive in anchoring Shoah education in its educational policies and strategies”. Bashy Quraishy concluded: “Keeping in mind the present atmosphere of hate speech and increasing anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, we appeal to the EU institutions to make the “never again” promise real!”
* In October 2005, 27 January was designated International Holocaust Remembrance Day by the United Nations. The UN resolution calls on member states to honour the memory of Holocaust victims and encourages the development of educational programmes about Holocaust history to help prevent future acts of genocide.
* * 2005 European Parliament Resolution on remembrance of the Holocaust, anti-semitism and racism
* ** Education on the Holocaust and on Anti-Semitism: An Overview and Analysis of Educational Approaches, Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, June 2005, http://www.osce.org/documents/odihr/2005/06/14897_en.pdf
© EUropean Network Against Racism http://www.enar-eu.org/en