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Global gathering of Holocaust survivors, descendants, educators and friends

Video Statement by Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

4 May 2021

Shalom. I am truly honoured to join you today. It is particularly touching to address Holocaust survivors, women and men who survived Nazi death camps into fruitful lives.

Not only surviving, but enjoying daily life after having experienced the Shoah, is an incredible feat.

You are a treasured legacy to humanity.

Today, we honour your lives and those of all survivors.

We pledge that your stories will live on.

That through dialogue and human rights education, the truth of Nazi atrocities will never be forgotten nor denied.

Knowing the horror that can arise from hatred and lies, we renew our commitment and determination to combat everywhere the violent forces of discrimination, intolerance and xenophobia.

Amid the upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the past year has seen a frightening increase in hate speech and related crimes in many societies. That includes a sharp rise in anti-Semitism. A brand-new Austrian report recorded 585 incidents in 2020 – both online and offline.

Words have consequences. And just as they did in the 1930s, scapegoating and dehumanisation threaten our social fabric today.

We will push back.

We will listen and learn the lessons that you, as survivors, teach us.

We will act to ensure that public discourse is based on respect and that it objectively reflects the truth.

And that, above all, it includes the fundamental truth of our equal rights and dignity as human beings.

Thank you.