UN charter response to Holocaust, says top UN aide; France found dangerous for Jews

(Photo: REUTERS / Vasily Fedosenko)A man attends a ceremony on the eve of the International Day of Commemoration to honor the victims of the Holocaust in Minsk, Belarus on January 26, 2015

GENEVA - U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein says the Charter of the United Nations "was shaped in response to the atrocities of the Holocaust and the Second World War."

Zeid issued a statement from Geneva on the eve of the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, 27 January.

At the same time a report on anti-Semitism presented to the Israeli government found that France was the most dangerous country for Jews in the world in 2014, The Jerusalem Post reported.

During the past year, levels of anti-Semitism and violence against Jews in France reached new records, according to the report prepared by the Ministry of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs in cooperation with the Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitsm (CFCA).

Zeid said, "Seventy years ago on this forever solemn day, Auschwitz-Birkenau – the largest killing centre of the Nazi concentration camps – was finally liberated.

"We continue to be haunted by the fate of the millions of Jewish men, women and children," said Zeid.

Those included during the Holocaust included "Roma, Poles, Soviet prisoners of war and other prisoners and deportees from all over Europe, people with disabilities, homosexuals, and dissidents, who suffered and were killed by this ghastly extermination machine."

He said the memory of "well over a million Jewish children, and thousands of other children, who were put to death is particularly unbearable."

About six million Jews were killed by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.

"Bergen-Belsen was the last camp we went to and it was the worst. There was one tap with water but we had no food. I remember digging around in the ground for roots to eat and people around me who collapsed and died with hunger," Holocaust survivor Freddie Knoller, now 93 years old and living in London told The Telegraph newspaper.

"Cannibalism was rife. I would never do that but I saw it. I still remember the moment we were liberated, one month after we arrived. I was lying on my bunk and somebody shouted, 'Look, there are Jeeps outside'. I went out and saw British soldiers coming into the camp. It was so wonderful."


Zeid noted that the U.N. Charter formed in response to events around the Holocaust "seeks to establish a new 'vision of what the world should be.'"

It laid out a vision of the world in which all people are able to exercise their human rights in freedom, dignity and equality, in full accordance with international human rights law.

"And yet the toxic influences of discrimination and racial and ethnic hatred can still be felt among us, and the catalogue of atrocities runs on and on.

"In memory of the victims and survivors of the Holocaust, and the pain that many others have since endured, I believe that it is urgent for us all to strengthen our moral courage.

"We must resist discrimination of every kind so that all may live in liberty, with respect, equality and justice," said Zeid.

The report on attacks on Jews in France, from which many Jews were deported to concentration camps during the Second World War report was presented to the Israeli government during the week remembering International Holocaust Remembrance Day, The Jerusalem Post noted.

It noted anti-Semitic incidents in France rose by 100 percent in the last year, with half of the racially related incidents in the country being directed at Jews.

This is despite the fact that Jews make up less than one percent of the French population, the report found.

In addition, it was revealed that during 2014, there were 1,000 different anti-Semitic incidents in France, including dozens in which Jews were beaten or attacked.

In 2014, there was a significant rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the world, the report found, and during the July-August Gaza war, known as Operation Protective Edge, there was a 400 percent increase in such incidents compared to the same period in 2013.

Far right-wing elements continued to be central perpetrators of anti-Semitic acts, but most of the violent acts were carried out by Arab or Muslim individuals, the study concluded.

The report also highlighted the continued scourge of anti-Semitism on the Internet, including the spreading of classical anti-Semitic conspiracy theories such as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

The Minister for Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett, who presented the report to the government, said, "The old anti-Semitism, spouting the familiar stereotype of a global Jewish conspiracy, is being increasingly coupled with the campaign to delegitimize Israel."

"It is radical Islam which is acting as the bridge for these two racist beliefs. They'll use any perverted excuse to further their goal which is the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people," Bennett said.

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