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International Day of commemoration
in memory of the victims of the Holocaust

Memorial Ceremony and Concert
General Assembly Hall

27 January 2010


H.E. Mrs. Byrganym Aitimova
Acting President of the United Nations General Assembly

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like at the outset to convey to you the best regards of H.E. Dr. Ali Treki, President of the 64th session of the General Assembly, who asked me to convey the following message on his behalf.

We meet here tonight to remember and pay tribute to the millions of people who lost their lives during the Holocaust. We honour also the survivors of the Holocaust, some of whom are with us today. We commit ourselves to preserving their legacy, also as a warning to all people of the dangers of hatred, racism and prejudice.

This day marks the liberation of the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau sixty-five years ago. For millions of Jews and members of other minorities, that day came too late. Their lives and their suffering will not be forgotten.

The end of the Second World War and the liberation of the Nazi death camps united victors and survivors in their desire for a better world. Faced with the horrors of war and the tragedy of the Holocaust, world leaders agreed never again to allow such atrocities to take place. That same year the United Nations was established “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war” and reaffirming “the dignity and worth of the human person”. By its resolution 60/7 of 1 November 2005, the General Assembly decided to designate this day to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust and to pass its lessons on to future generations.

The occasion also reminds us of the crimes of genocide committed since the Second World War. The call “Never again” sounds hollow every time we are confronted with evidence of a new genocide. We must therefore resolve to help prevent future acts of genocide. We need to work to achieve peace and ensure the spread of a culture of peace, to prevent the eruption of wars, and to respect the fundamental freedoms of human beings and their right to exist. The Nazi death camps and the atrocities against the Jewish population must never be repeated against any people at any time. This is the universal message from today’s commemoration.

Thank you.