Author Archives: cigisurrao

Secretary-General’s message on the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust

On this Day, we come together to remember one of the most heinous crimes of our time: the systematic killing of six million Jewish men, women and children and millions of others by the Nazis and their collaborators in the Holocaust.
We pledge that we will never forget. We vow to tell their stories and honour them by defending everyone’s right to live with dignity in a just and peaceful world.
Seventy-five years ago, the liberation of the death camps ended the carnage but horrified the world, as the full scope of the Nazis’ crimes became clear.
Out of these horrors, the United Nations was created to bring countries together for peace and our common humanity, and to prevent any repetition of such crimes against humanity.
The resurgence of hatred in recent years, from violent extremism to attacks on places of worship, shows that antisemitism, other forms of religious bigotry, racism and prejudice are still very much with us.
Seventy-five years on, neo-Nazis and white supremacists are resurgent, and there are continued efforts to diminish the Holocaust and deny or downplay the responsibility of perpetrators.
But just as hatred persists, so must our resolve to fight it.
Today and every day, we commemorate the victims of the Holocaust by pursuing truth, remembrance and education, and by building peace and justice around the world.
New York, 27 January 2020

Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the formation of new Government in Lebanon

The Secretary-General welcomes the announcement of the formation of a new Government of Lebanon today. He looks forward to working with Prime Minister Hassan Diab and the incoming Council of Ministers, including in support of Lebanon’s reform agenda and to address the pressing needs of its people.

The Secretary-General reiterates the United Nations commitment to support Lebanon’s strengthening of its sovereignty, stability and political independence in accordance with the Taif Accord and Baabda declaration, and its effective implementation of Security Council resolutions 1701 (2006), 1559 (2004) and other relevant resolutions which remain essential to the stability of Lebanon and the region.

Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General

New York, 21 January 2020

Secretary-General’s remarks at opening of Exhibit Marking the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau

Excellencies, Mr. Zoltan Matyash, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

It is an honour to be here with you today at the opening of this exhibit. The United Nations is fortunate to host such a deeply moving and important collection of photographs.

Seventy-five years ago, when soldiers of the Soviet army entered Auschwitz, they were stunned into silence by what they saw. The Nazis had attempted to hide some of the evidence of mass murder. But the millions of clothing items and tons of hair told their own appalling story.

Liberation ended the Holocaust. But it was just the beginning of our efforts to make sure such crimes never happen again.

I will never forget my visit to Yad Vashem two years ago. I was shocked once again by the ability of antisemitism to reinvent itself and re-emerge time and again, over millennia. Even after the Holocaust, when its catastrophic results could not have been clearer, antisemitism continues. Sometimes it takes new forms, and is spread by new techniques, but it is the same old hatred. We can never lower our guard.

The past few years have seen a frightening upsurge in antisemitic attacks both in Europe and the United States, part of a troubling increase in xenophobia, homophobia, discrimination and hatred of all kinds. Even Nazism itself is threatening to reemerge —sometimes openly, sometimes in disguise.

As the former Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, Jonathan Sacks, has said, “The hate that begins with Jews never ends there.”

Remembrance and education are an essential part of our prevention efforts, because ignorance creates fertile ground for false narratives and lies. “Never again” means telling the story again and again.

It is a great honour to have Mr. Zoltan Matyash here with us today. We are all deeply grateful to him and to all Holocaust survivors, who inspire us with their strength and their example.

As survivors grow older, it is essential that we keep their memories alive and carry their testimony forward in new ways for new generations.

That is why the United Nations Holocaust Outreach Programme and UNESCO provide written testimony, photographs, videos and other resources for schools and institutions around the world.

And that is why exhibitions like this are so important. These portraits of Holocaust survivors speak to us of the dignity, humanity and interconnectedness of each unique member of our human family.

Their heartbreaking stories of survival and courage inspire us to do more, in whatever way we can, to combat persecution, hatred and discrimination, wherever they are found.

We will gather at the General Assembly in a few days to pay tribute to the victims of the Holocaust and to renew the commitment of the international community to prevent any repetition of such crimes against humanity.

Understanding our history connects us to the essential human values of truth, respect, justice and compassion.

As these values come under attack from all sides, we must reaffirm them more strongly than ever.

We will stand firm every day and everywhere against antisemitism, bigotry and hatred of all kinds.

The world failed all those who died, and those who continue to suffer as a result of the Holocaust.

We cannot fail them again by allowing their stories to be forgotten.

Thank you.

New York, 21 January 2020

World leaders must address ‘shameful’ disparities in education spending: UN children’s agency

A new report from the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, published on Monday to coincide with a meeting of education ministers, gathered at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, shows that a third of adolescent girls from the poorest households have never been to school, and spending on education is heavily skewed towards wealthier households and urged world leaders to address ‘shameful’ disparities in public education spending. More

Full evacuation of Philippines volcano zone essential, as UN calls for collective long-term effort

Humanitarian affairs coordination office OCHA’s team leader, Mark Bidder said that his team is anxious to see the full evacuation of vulnerable citizens completed as the Taal volcano continues to erupt and has caused widespread destruction. The UN system and international aid organizations would be looking for the most effective ways of working together, during the difficult days ahead. More

Biodiversity must ‘move up international agenda’, following Australia bushfires

More than 100 wildfires are still raging across Australia, with record-breaking temperatures and drought contributing to the loss of more than six million hectares of land that is home to some of the most unique plants and animals in the world. In an interview with UN News, John Scanlon, Special Envoy for the African Parks non-profit organization and former Secretary-General of CITES – the UN-backed Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species – said that the increasing threat to biodiversity must be “lifted up to the international agenda”. More

Flash Update No. 1 – Philippines: Taal Volcano eruption

On 12 January, alert level-4 (hazardous eruption imminent) was raised over Taal Volcano located in the Calabarzon region 70 km south of the capital Manila. Seismic activity was also recorded in Tagaytay City, Cabuyao, Laguna, Talisay, Alitagtag, Lemery and Bauan, Batangas, with over 75 volcanic earthquakes felt at an intensity ranging from II to V as of 5 a,m. These developments signify likely continuous magmatic intrusion beneath the volcano, which may lead to further eruptive activity. More than 300 domestic and 230 international flights were cancelled as the Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport was closed overnight. National authorities are leading the response, assisted by the Philippine Red Cross, and have deployed rescue teams for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has conveyed readiness of the Humanitarian Country Team to provide support if needed. More