Holy See's U.N. Address on Holocaust Remembrance

“A Commitment to Spare Future Generations Such Horror”

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NEW YORK, NOV. 2, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Here is the address delivered Tuesday by Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Holy See’s permanent observer to the United Nations, before the U.N. General Assembly on “Holocaust Remembrance.”

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Mr. President,

Remembering is a duty and a common responsibility. This is especially true in the case of the Holocaust and so my delegation is pleased to salute the resolution on Holocaust remembrance and to congratulate all those who sponsored it.

The responsibility of all nations to remember, gains new strength as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the extermination camps and the establishment of the United Nations.

For 60 years we have had the horror of this kind of crime before us, in spite of which history has still repeated itself. An international convention on the subject has not prevented the kind of thinking that leads to genocide, the violence that perpetrates genocide, the injustices that make it possible, or the interests that allow a genocide to be sustained over time.

The 20th century witnessed genocides, atrocities, mass killings and ethnic cleansings which deplorably were not confined to just one continent. As we stand before the Holocaust, it is only right that we remember and pledge the best of our collective efforts to make sure that, having named this crime, the world’s nations will recognize it for what it is and prevent it in the future.

May the Holocaust serve as a warning to prevent us from yielding to ideologies which justify contempt for human dignity on the basis of race, color, language or religion.

In this context, it would be well also to recall and renew our support for Security Council Resolution 1624 which both condemned “in the strongest terms the incitement of terrorist acts” and repudiated “attempts at the justification or glorification […] of terrorist acts that may incite further terrorist acts.” It further emphasized the “continuing international efforts to enhance dialogue and broaden understanding among civilizations, in an effort to prevent the indiscriminate targeting of different religions and cultures, and addressing unresolved regional conflicts and the full range of global issues.”

After the Shoah, the first step towards prevention was the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Many more steps forward are needed. In every country the memory of the Holocaust must be preserved as a commitment to spare future generations such horror.

During his visit to the Holy Land, the late Pope John Paul II made a point of going to Yad Vashem, the memorial to the Shoah. At the foot of the Temple’s Western Wall he prayed for forgiveness and for the conversion of hearts and minds.

Asking pardon purifies the memory, and remembering the Holocaust gives us an occasion for this purification of memory to occur, to detect early symptoms of genocide and to reject them, and to take timely and firm measures to overcome social and international injustices of all kinds.

The program of outreach, as well as other measures, may well prove useful in this regard, in order to show that, with political will, more can be done, more can be achieved.

The Holy See is ready to continue working in this sense.

Thank you, Mr. President.

[Original text: English]

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