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Statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance

Delivered by Minister Counsellor Henning Hjortland Johansen to the Permanent Council, Vienna, 31 January 2019

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Mr. Chair,

On 27 January, we observed the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. This day is
an occasion to honour the memory of the victims of the Holocaust, but also to remind
ourselves to educate future generations of its lessons and its horrors. To prevent future
genocide, we must not and we cannot forget.

Still, our region continues to see incidents of hate speech, of harassment of Jews and
Jewish property, and of neo-Nazis marching the streets. History has demonstrated that
we must not allow these forces of intolerance and discrimination to define our societies.
Norwegian authorities work actively with national and international partners with the
combined purpose of safeguarding history, preventing distortion and misinformation
about the Holocaust, and countering anti-Semitism and other group-based prejudice
and harassment wherever it occurs.

As a response to incidents in Norway, the Government has adopted an Action Plan
against anti-Semitism. Several ministries and government agencies work together to
implement the action plan with a particular emphasis on prevention and education. We
welcome the ODIHR/UNESCO guidelines for addressing anti-Semitism through
education, published in 2018. We note that they highlight Norway as an example of
good practice. Nonetheless, we are aware that challenges remain.

Anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial or distortion are international issues. We must
confront them internationally. The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance is a
valuable partner in uniting both governments and experts in efforts to strengthen
education, information and research into the Holocaust.

The OSCE also has an important part to play. In particular the institutions: ODIHR
broadly through its work on tolerance and non-discrimination, the RFoM in its efforts to
counter hate speech in the media, and, not least the High Commissioner on National
Minorities as an instrument of conflict prevention with regard to national minority
issues.

However, the responsibility to prevent and counter anti-Semitism remains with the
participating States. To free our region from intolerance and discrimination and its
manifestation in anti-Semitism, vigilance must remain the watchword of us all.

Thank you

 

2019-01-31 PC Norway on IHRA.pdf