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In 2005, with the resolution 60/7, the UN General Assembly established 27 January as the

International Holocaust Remembrance Day in order to honour the memory of Holocaust victims, and to raise awareness on Holocaust history to help prevent future acts of genocide. The UN decided to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust on 27 January because it was on 27 January 1945 that the Soviet army tore down the gates of one of the biggest concentration camps built by the Nazis: Auschwitz.

But what does Holocaust mean? The word Holocaust refers to the systematic killing of those people (Jews, homosexuals, political prisoners, disabled people, Roma people…) that the Nazi carried on in labour camps. It is important not to confuse the word Holocaust with the word Shoah since the first refers to all the people killed by the Nazis, while the latter only to the Jews.

To underline the importance of 27 January and to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust, the UN established a free webinar to join the discussion on such an important topic. At 16:15 Sofia Time, Miguel Angel Moratinos, the UN High Representative to the Alliance of Civilizations, joined the representatives of B’nai B’rith to discuss on global antisemitism and on the lessons of the Holocaust.

Each year, on 27 January, we remember the horrors carried out under Hitler’s Third Reich, through conferences and articles that aim at condemning every kind on intolerance and violence based on racial or religious beliefs. The concentration or labour camps represent everything that democratic societies fight: the arbitrary use of force, the violation of human rights, torture, etc.

However, the problem is that the Nazis were not the first to invent and use labour camps and, surely, they were not the last. In different modern countries, labour camps are still used to intern hostile or ‘unwanted’ civilians (or civilians considered hostile) that are then isolated and usually obliged to forced labour under ‘special laws’. However, the international community does not seem to show the same indignation. this was shown also at the webinar with Moratinos and B’nai B’rith that talked only about anti-semitism nowadays and the protection of Israel and Israeli people, without ever mentioning current discriminations and violence.

For example, Uyghur people (a Turkish ethnic group, mainly Islamic) in China have been kept in detention camps, where they are obliged to work and sometimes to undergo sterilization. The Australian migration policy called “No Way” rejects visa seeker and keep them on remote islands on the Pacific Ocean. The majority of the Rohingya population, in Bangladesh, has to live in refugee camps bordered by barbed wire. Migrants that try to cross Libya are systematically and arbitrarily detained in camps where they undergo harsh torture. In Bosnia-Herzegovina, a few kilometres from the border with Croatia, a thousand people are stuck in a hopeless situation, under inhuman sanitary conditions and under the continuous police oppression and brutality keeping them to cross the border.

Therefore, history repeats itself, however, the international community does not seem to do enough to impede it.

It is a bit hypocritical remembering the horrors of the past while ignoring those people that are nowadays living in those conditions.

Marta Bragagnolo

INTERN@ Project Development Department


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