WJC praises UNESCO head for condemning Holocaust cartoon contest

January 27, 2016 Agencies
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World Jewish Congress CEO Robert Singer has praised UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova for issuing a clear condemnation the third edition of a Holocaust cartoon contest held in Iran which features many entries that openly deny the Shoah.

Singer had met with Bokova in Paris on Monday.

Robert Singer

Robert Singer

Singer declared: “I thank Director General Bokova for making it very clear that this sort of competition, is not acceptable, and I am glad she will take this up with Iran’s President Rouhani when the two meet in Paris on Wednesday. It’s symbolic that this meeting takes place on the very day the world remembers the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau on 27 January 2016 and the mass murder of six million Jews, which is still being questioned by so many Iranian leaders.”

Robert Singer, accompanied by the WJC’s Chief Program Officer Sonia Gomes de Mesquita and the WJC’s Representative to the United Nations in Geneva Lauren Rose, spoke with the UNESCO chief in Paris about discuss ongoing cooperation to support UNESCO’s Holocaust Education Program and to address current global challenges, relating to countering anti-Semitism, youth radicalization and growing religious intolerance.

Irina Bokova thanked the World Jewish Congress for its support to UNESCO’s Holocaust Remembrance Day and its growing engagement in supporting UNESCO’s work for preventive education across the world. She reiterated that the organization was the sole UN agency with a mandate to promote Holocaust education worldwide for the prevention of genocide promoting respect for human rights, through policies and initiatives at a global level to develop education about the genocide, in order to make young people, whatever their origin and culture, become more aware of the mechanisms that can lead societies to scale up hatred and mass violence, and how to prevent these phenomena.

She highlighted also UNESCO’s role as a platform for institutions, teachers, and students to access resources on Education for Holocaust and to prevent genocides – in order to develop critical reflection about the roots of genocide and the necessity to nurture peace and human rights to prevent such atrocities in the future.

Underlining the support of the World Jewish Congress to UNESCO in its actions to strengthen awareness about the history of the Holocaust across the world, Singer highlighted the WJC’s activities to support youth engagement beyond religious and cultural divides around joint initiatives, so as to raise awareness about a shared history, to promote human rights and eliminate all forms of discrimination and intolerance.

The WJC will be supporting UNESCO’s commemorative programs in Paris on January 27, which will comprise a number of round-table discussions, exhibitions and an official ceremony. WJC General Counsel Menachem Rosensaft will be among the speakers at a round-table discussion on “In the Shadow of the Past: Countering Anti-Semitism and Hate Speech Today”.

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