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Statement on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Delivered by Ambassador Anne-Kirsti Karlsen at the Permanent Council, Vienna, 28 January 2021.

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Madame Chair,

I thank the president of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), Ms Küchler, for her statement on the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

This day is dedicated to the memory of the horrific acts carried out against Jews. However, anti-Semitism is not a threat to Jews alone. We see that minorities are subject to intolerance. We see hate towards those who are “different”. We all have a responsibility to speak out against the intolerance and act against the hate. It is our commitment to ensure that the victims and survivors of the Holocaust and others who were persecuted are not forgotten. Their memory must be our compass to guide our actions – here and now.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) is doing important work to counter Holocaust-denial and distortion. IHRA assist in improving education and bringing experts and governments together to uphold the fight against Anti-Semitism. Norway highly values this contribution.

In 2016, Norway launched an action plan against anti-Semitism. It emphasized education and prevention, included efforts to prevent anti-Semitism in schools and aimed at preserving Jewish heritage in Norway as well as in Europe at large. Yesterday the Norwegian government launched an update to the plan. It takes stock of what has been achieved and build on lessons learned from the first phase. The new action plan will cover the years 2021-2023.

Every five years the Norwegian Centre for Holocaust and Minority Studies presents a survey on the attitudes of Norwegians towards Jews and other minorities. Last survey was presented in 2017. The development from the first survey in 2012 to 2017 was encouraging. However, the Jewish community in Norway still feels there are negative attitudes and myths associated with Jews. Next surveys will be published late 2022.

The OSCE recognises the Human Rights Dimension as an integral part of our Comprehensive Security concept. ODIHR works on tolerance and non-discrimination in general. And the Chairperson-in-Office has a personal representative dedicated specifically to problem of anti-Semitism. However, the institutions can only assist. The responsibility lies with the participating states. Norway is committed to remembering the lessons from Holocaust – and to do our utmost to make sure that such horrors are never allowed to reoccur.

Thank you