Delivered by Ambassador Yevhenii Tsymbaliuk, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the International Organizations in Vienna, to the 1257th meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council, 30 January 2020
The delegation of Ukraine warmly welcomes Ambassador Georges Santer, Chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance to the Permanent Council and thanks him for his thoughtful statement.
On 27 January the world commemorated the Holocaust Memorial Day, decisively recommitting to the collective pledges of “we remember” and “never again”.
Ukraine, where 1.5 million Ukrainian Jews, a quarter of all Holocaust victims, perished during the Nazi’s occupation, commemorates this sad anniversary at the state level. Commemorative ceremonies, mourning rallies, memorial exhibitions and other events to remember the victims of the Shoa were united by the idea of "Six Million Hearts," in the memory of 6 million of Jews killed during the Holocaust.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy in his address on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz/Birkenau Nazi concentration camps emphasized that “the international community should unite and prevent any manifestation of anti-Semitism, xenophobia and racism. It must stand on the guard of humanism, tolerance and freedom. Stop evil before it becomes dangerous to humanity”.
The Head of Ukrainian State also noted the courage and commitment of the “Righteous Among the Nations”, who were ready to sacrifice their lives to save Jews from the Nazis. There were over 2.5 thousand Ukrainians among them.
The delegation of Ukraine highly commends the Albanian Chairmanship for organizing next week the Conference on the important topic of combating anti-Semitism in the OSCE area.
Unfortunately, what is witnessed is the alarming rise and new manifestations of anti-Semitism, along with other forms of intolerance, across the OSCE area. Their materialization in politics, either in the right or left extremes, is a cause of concern. We must actively counter disinformation and propaganda, which sow seeds of hatred and violence among people.
For the OSCE and our common activities it is high time to adopt a working definition of anti-Semitism, endorsed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. We encourage the Albanian Chairmanship to steer the efforts towards the adoption of respective OSCE document.
Having agreement on this matter would become, in our view, an important contribution to proper commemoration of 75th anniversary of liberation of Auschwitz/Birkenau camps.
Remembering the victims of inhumane atrocities of the Holocaust, we should do our utmost to prevent the revival of totalitarian empires, ideologies and practices that are prone to crimes against humanity.
It is important to remind ourselves of our common duty to ensure that the lessons and memory of the past are never forgotten and that our collective efforts in fighting anti-Semitism and any form of violence, intolerance or hatred ultimately succeed. Equally, we must not be silent or complacent to ongoing violations of our common values, commitments and principles.
Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.