I am moved and honoured to be here with you today at this Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration ceremony, organized jointly with the United Nations, and Embassies of Israel and Germany.
The United Nations has designated 27th January as the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust marking the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.
Today millions in Nepal and all around the world remember those millions who lost their lives in the most horrible event of history. Ensuring this genocide is not forgotten, and educating new generations on the responsibilities of citizenship, care and engagement, are crucial for preventing such atrocity from happening again in the future.
It is hence our duty to sensitize both the young and the old about the detrimental impacts of conflict. It is in the same spirit that the partners have come together to mark this Day with virtual educational programmes in the schools in seven different provinces of Nepal.
Today’s contested world calls for united action around the world to shun violence and brace ahead to restore peace and harmony for the greater good of our citizens.
The EU was born in the aftermath of the Holocaust and World War II, from animosity and hatred towards a more vibrant and inspirational historical juncture of unity, peace and respect. As democracy has spread and consolidated within Europe, the European continent has become ever more peaceful and secure.
The founding treaties of the European Union underscore the necessity of non-discrimination and equal opportunity to all. Despite the positive movements, seventy-six years down the road antisemitism, discrimination and hate speech are again on the rise in Europe and other parts of the world. The best antidote against this is knowledge.
This is exactly what we are aiming at both in Europe and Nepal—dissemination of knowledge. The EU will continue to work within the multilateral system, in particular the UN, to maintain remembrance policies, to protect freedom of religion or belief, to prevent genocide, to protect historic and religious sites, and to promote education, documentation and research about the Holocaust.
The words we say on Holocaust Remembrance Day must translate into policies for every day. And every day we work together to further promote democracy and human rights to fight antisemitism, xenophobia and hate speech.
76 years after the end of World War II, the Holocaust memory is under threat due to conspiracy theories and disinformation promoting anti-Semitic narratives.
The rules-based international order is facing increased pressure. We need to protect it more than ever. Supporting the Responsibility to Protect and preventing genocide and other atrocity crimes form an integral part of the EU's foreign and security policy.
The new EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime is a landmark agreement in this regard. It allows the EU to target individuals, entities and bodies responsible for serious human rights violations and abuses, including genocide and crimes against humanity.
The EU’s new action plan on human rights and democracy for the period 2020 to 2024, emphasizes leaving no one behind and ensuring that human rights is not ignored, supporting the work of the human rights defenders. This is well in tune with the need of the times to fight antisemitism and hate speech within the EU and in the world.
The EU will keep working with national and international partners including civil society to prevent genocide and impunity, all around the world. We owe it to the victims and to ourselves: only by acknowledging the atrocities of the past and by fighting violations when they occur we can build a better future.