H.E. Archbishop Celestino Migliore
Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See
At the 60th
Session of the UN General Assembly, on item 72:
remembrance: draft resolution (A/60/L.12)
York, 1 November 2005
Remembering is a duty and a common
responsibility. This is especially true in the case of the Holocaust and so my
Delegation is pleased to salute the resolution on Holocaust remembrance and to
congratulate all those who sponsored it.
The responsibility of all nations
to remember gains new strength as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the
liberation of the extermination camps and the establishment of the United
For 60 years we have had the horror
of this kind of crime before us, in spite of which history has still repeated
itself. An International Convention on the subject has not prevented the kind of
thinking that leads to genocide, the violence that perpetrates genocide, the
injustices that make it possible, or the interests that allow a genocide to be
sustained over time. The 20th century witnessed genocides, atrocities, mass
killings and ethnic cleansings which deplorably were not confined to just one
continent. As we stand before the Holocaust, it is only right that we remember
and pledge the best of our collective efforts to make sure that, having named
this crime, the world’s nations will recognize it for what it is and prevent it
in the future.
May the Holocaust serve as a
warning to prevent us from yielding to ideologies which justify contempt for
human dignity on the basis of race, colour, language or religion.
In this context, it would be well
also to recall and renew our support for Security Council Resolution 1624 which
both condemned “in the strongest terms the incitement of terrorist acts” and
repudiated “attempts at the justification or glorification (apologie) of
terrorist acts that may incite further terrorist acts”. It further emphasized
the “continuing international efforts to enhance dialogue and broaden
understanding among civilizations, in an effort to prevent the indiscriminate
targeting of different religions and cultures, and addressing unresolved
regional conflicts and the full range of global issues”.
After the Shoah, the first step
towards prevention was the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Many more
steps forward are needed. In every country the memory of the Holocaust must be
preserved as a commitment to spare future generations such horror.
During his visit to the Holy Land,
the late Pope John Paul II made a point of going to Yad Vashem, the memorial to
the Shoah. At the foot of the Temple’s Western Wall he prayed for forgiveness
and for the conversion of hearts and minds.
Asking pardon purifies the memory,
and remembering the Holocaust gives us an occasion for this purification of
memory to occur, to detect early symptoms of genocide and to reject them, and to
take timely and firm measures to overcome social and international injustices of
The programme of outreach, as well as other measures, may well prove useful in
this regard, in order to show that, with political will, more can be done, more
can be achieved.
The Holy See is ready to continue
working in this sense.
Thank you, Mr President.