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2008 International Day of commemoration in memory
of the victims of the Holocaust


Statement by the President of the General Assembly, H.E. Srgjan Kerim

Your Excellency Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon,
Under-Secretary-General Akasaka,
Distinguished Congressman Lantos,
Distinguished Guests,
Maestro Zubin Mehta,
and all members of the Buchmann-Mehta Orchestra all the way from Tel Aviv University.

It is with great honour, that I welcome you to the General Assembly, the amphitheatre of the world - a witness of cooperation and confrontation; understanding and ignorance; coherence and difference among Member States.

But still, we all have something in common – our conscience and consciousness. This must guide us, not only in remembering the sins of deeds done by one people to another, but also in our vision to create a world of tolerance, solidarity and common sense.

The Holocaust fed man’s ego with delusions of supremacy, and tried to erase the bonds that all human beings share. We must spare no effort to ensure that we never again witness such evil.

Globalisation doesn’t only mean the evolution of communication, technology, and economy; it must also lead to the evolution of global consciousness. An evolved mindset immune from any evil thoughts of genocide, crimes against humanity or even crimes based on mental degradation.

We should all be aware that our thoughts become words; words become deeds; deeds become habits; habits become our character; and our character becomes our destiny.

Today, is therefore more than a commemoration; it is more than a remembrance; it must serve as a call to action in honour of the victims and survivors of the Holocaust.

Who better than Holocaust survivors can recount the absurd and unconceivable atrocities against humanity, committed in an era and based on an ideology of hatred and insanity; but to make the nonsense even greater masked itself in the guise of the “Űbermensch”.

I would like to pay tribute to Congressman Tom Lantos and to all survivors, whose courage and perseverance have ensured that the traumatic lessons from the Holocaust have fortified our collective conscience.

In their honour, today let us evoke - through solemn reflection of the past – an inspirational vision of conviction and hope for a better future. We each have a singular goal that we should make our life’s mission – to watch and awaken our own consciousness - and in doing so create a better, more just and equal world.

It is incumbent upon all of us, Member States and all members of society, to embrace our interdependence, and realign the ethical compass that will allow us to transcend our differences.

Therein lies the new culture of international relations based on human rights, human security, the responsibility to protect and sustainable development. Achieving this must be our lasting legacy to future generations.

Thank you.