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Welcoming remarks by Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, Kiyo Akasaka

Distinguished Panelists,
Friends and Colleagues,

Good afternoon. Thank you for joining us for this seminar, “From Kristallnacht to Today: How do We Combat Hatred?” This short film that we have seen will help set the stage for our discussion on how hatred can turn to violence and become a destructive force in society. We must seek ways to help end this trend.       

This seminar has been organized by the Holocaust and United Nations Outreach Programme, which was called for by the General Assembly two years ago. It is part of our efforts to remember and reflect upon the lessons of the Holocaust, when facing acts of hatred, prejudice and intolerance in the world today.

Today, we recall the widespread systematic violence that took place in the night of 9 November 1938.  What became known as Kristallnacht was a violent pogrom against Jews and their homes, businesses and synagogues all across Germany and Austria, reflecting how bigotry can give rise to genocide.

Today we seek to hear best practices to overcome hatred, prejudice and intolerance in society from five individuals, who join us from around the world.

I am looking forward to your presentations, and hearing about the contributions you have made to protect human rights and combating hated in society.

The Department of Public Information has given considerable attention to the problem of confronting hatred in the world.  Our outreach activities include radio programmes to combat hate media in Africa, educational programmes for children and a seminar series called, “Unlearning Intolerance”.

Today, we are very grateful to have with us Dr. Francis Deng, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities.  Dr. Deng, the floor is yours.


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