Tag Archives: Human Rights

The UN at 75: Now is the Time to “Build Back Better”

Photo: Fabrizio Hochschild, Special Adviser on the Preparations for the Commemoration of the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of the United Nations, at a commemorative event to mark the 74th anniversary of the signing of the Charter of the United Nations. New York, 26 June 2019. ©UN Photo/Manuel Elias

The United Nations turns 75 this year. It is a time of great upheaval for the world, as it was in 1945 when the Organization was founded. Many of the trends we grapple with today could not have been imagined by people back then: that human actions would fuel global temperature rise, posing an existential risk to our species and a million others. That new technologies would radically reshape how we live, work and interact with each other. That greater affluence and longevity would be accompanied by challenges of their own.

But many of the problems we face would have been all too familiar: from conflict to mass displacement, big power rivalries to corrosive nationalism, and inequality to pandemics. The experience of the 1918 H1N1 flu outbreak, estimated to have infected a third of the world’s population, would still have been present in many people’s minds.

We have come a long way over the past seven decades, with huge strides forward in education, and in tackling extreme poverty and hunger. We have moved from a world in which a third of the population lived in non-self-governing territories and most women did not have equal voting rights to one that is freer by many measures.

We have won great victories. The eradication of smallpox—spearheaded by the World Health Organization, with sustained political and financial support from the international community—alone has saved millions of lives. It remains the only infectious disease to have been wiped out.

Yet progress has been uneven, and failures well-documented and tragic. As we mark the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace, it is important that we remember not only our successes, but also the lows that continue to haunt us. After three decades in the field, I carry with me the privilege and burden of both.

The United Nations represents people’s aspirations. Its creation gave hope to the world that countries would work together to prevent future wars, and the factors that lead to conflict, such as poverty and human rights abuses. But it was also a pragmatic response by world leaders, who realized that cooperation and compromise were less costly than war. Multilateralism is, and always has been, an interplay of national and shared concerns.

Increasingly, though, the line between global and national interest is blurring. We are now more interconnected than ever. Our economies, our societies, the things we rely on in our daily lives, all depend on countries working together. So does tackling the challenges we face. Pandemics, climate change and cybercrime do not respect borders. They cannot be solved by any one country alone, no matter how big or powerful. We need international cooperation to galvanize action and to harness the opportunities the future holds, whether that’s leveraging the benefits of new technologies or building a zero-carbon world.

COVID-19 has shown how crucial it is for us to cooperate across borders, sectors and generations. It has laid bare our underlying dependencies. We are only as strong as the most vulnerable among us. We cannot beat this crisis without working together.

We need a whole-of-society response: to share information and research, to address the damage to lives and livelihoods, and to ensure we build back better. We need to engage youth. The crisis is having a huge impact on young people, mentally and physically. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), more than 90 per cent of the world’s students are impacted by the closure of facilities. Prior to the pandemic, the World Bank estimated that in developing countries an extra 600 million jobs would be needed by 2030 to keep pace with population growth. Job prospects are now even more uncertain. We also need to engage older people, who have, so far, been worst affected by the virus.

Member States’ responses have shown that transformations that seemed impossible just months ago can be achieved in a short time frame when political leadership is aligned with support from stakeholders and the public. In seeking to recover from this crisis, the Secretary-General has called for “a strong focus on building more equal, inclusive and sustainable economies and societies that are more resilient in the face of pandemics, climate change and the many other global challenges we face”.

Now is the time to end business as usual. Now is the time to put into practice the commitment to future generations that is central to the Charter of the United Nations, and to make progress on the United Nations we need for the future we want, as envisaged in the Sustainable Development Goals.

That is the spirit in which the United Nations 75th anniversary was conceived by the Secretary-General last year: not as a celebration, but as a moment of reflection, of listening, of coming together as a human family to discuss how we can overcome the big trends shaping our future, from the rapid changes in the make-up of our population to popular discontent in many parts of the world.

In January, the UN75 team launched the “world’s largest conversation” – a United Nations system-wide initiative to gather public opinion and crowdsource solutions to the challenges we face. The initiative has five strands:

A short survey, to give as many people as possible the chance to make their voice heard
Conversations within communities, to allow for deeper discussion—online, via phone, radio or messaging service, and, where possible, in person Formal opinion polling, to give us statistically sound, representative data, Media and social media analysis, to give us a snapshot of what people think when they are not being asked a question, Academic and policy research analysis, to provide input from experts and practitioners. Together, these five routes will give us insights into the public’s hopes, fears and priorities for the future, as well as ideas on actions we can take to create the world we want.

To date, over 13 million people have taken part. More than 350 dialogues have been held and over 70,000 people in nearly all United Nations Member States have completed our survey (live results are available here). The initial results, featured in our first report, show overwhelming—and increasing—support for global cooperation, across all age and social groups. They show that people think climate change will be the defining trend shaping our future, with conflict and health at numbers 2 and 3. And early indications are that universal access to health care, rethinking the global economy and greater solidarity between people and nations are the top priorities for recovering better from the pandemic.

The results will be presented by the United Nations Secretary-General to world leaders in September 2020, when Member States will adopt a declaration on the 75th anniversary. Amidst the pandemic, the declaration has taken on even greater significance as a vehicle for leaders to set out an inspiring vision, anchored around concrete actions, that sends a powerful message of hope to people across the world.

Ahead of that moment, we invite people from all regions, backgrounds and walks of life to contribute their views. We continue to seek partners who can help us reach young people, marginalized communities, and those who may not typically engage, including our critics. We cannot afford to leave anyone behind. Now is the time to lift everyone up and build a better future for all.

24 April 2020

About the author
Fabrizio Hochschild is Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Preparations for the Commemoration of the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of the United Nations.

The  UN Chronicle is not an official record. The views expressed by individual authors, as well as the boundaries and names shown and the designations used in maps or articles, do not necessarily imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations.

The Secretary General- Video Message on World Press Freedom Day 2020

“Journalism Without Fear or Favour”

New York, 3 May 2020

Journalists and media workers are crucial to helping us make informed decisions. As the world fights the COVID-19 pandemic, those decisions can make the difference between life and death.

On World Press Freedom Day, we call on governments — and others — to guarantee that journalists can do their jobs throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

As the pandemic spreads, it has also given rise to a second pandemic of misinformation, from harmful health advice to wild conspiracy theories.

The press provides the antidote: verified, scientific, fact-based news and analysis.

But since the pandemic began, many journalists are being subjected to increased restrictions and punishments simply for doing their jobs.

Temporary constraints on freedom of movement are essential to beat COVID-19. But they must not be abused as an excuse to crack down on journalists’ ability to do their work.

Today, we thank the media for providing facts and analysis; for holding leaders – in every sector – accountable; and for speaking truth to power.

We particularly recognize those who are playing a life-saving role reporting on public health.

And we call on governments to protect media workers, and to strengthen and maintain press freedom, which is essential for a future of peace, justice and human rights for all.

 

 

All hands on deck to fight a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic

By António Guterres

Only by coming together will the world be able to face down the COVID-19 pandemic and its shattering consequences. At an emergency virtual meeting last Thursday, G20 leaders took

UNSG Antonio Guterres

steps in the right direction. But we are still far away from having a coordinated, articulated global response that meets the unprecedented magnitude of what we are facing.

Far from flattening the curve of infection, we are still well behind it. The disease initially took 67 days to infect 100,000 people; soon, 100,000 people and more will be infected daily. Without concerted and courageous action, the number of new cases will almost certainly escalate into the millions, pushing health systems to the breaking point, economies into a nosedive and people into despair, with the poorest hit hardest.

We must prepare for the worst and do everything to avoid it. Here is a three-point call to action — based on science, solidarity and smart policies — for doing just that.

First, suppress transmission of the coronavirus.

That requires aggressive and early testing and contact tracing, complemented by quarantines, treatment, and measures to keep first responders safe, combined with measures to restrict movement and contact. Such steps, despite the disruptions they cause, must be sustained until therapies and a vaccine emerge.

Crucially, this robust and cooperative effort should be guided by the World Health Organization, a member of the United Nations family; countries acting on their own – as they must for their people – will not get the job done for all.

Second, tackle the devastating social and economic dimensions of the crisis.

The virus is spreading like wildfire, and is likely to move swiftly into the Global South, where health systems face constraints, people are more vulnerable, and millions live in densely populated slums or crowded settlements for refugees and internally displaced persons. Fuelled by such conditions, the virus could devastate the developing world and then re-emerge where it was previously suppressed. In our interconnected world, we are only as strong as the weakest health systems.

Clearly, we must fight the virus for all of humanity, with a focus on people, especially the most affected: women, older persons, youth, low-wage workers, small and medium enterprises, the informal sector and vulnerable groups.

The United Nations has just issued reports documenting how the viral contagion has become an economic contagion, and setting out the financing needed to address the shocks. The International Monetary Fund has declared that we have entered a recession as bad as or worse than in 2009.

We need a comprehensive multilateral response amounting to a double-digit percentage of global Gross Domestic Product.

Developed countries can do it by themselves, and some are indeed doing it. But we must massively increase the resources available to the developing world by expanding the capacity of the IMF, namely through the issuance of special drawing rights, and of the other international financial institutions so that they can rapidly inject resources into the countries that need them. I know this is difficult as nations find themselves increasing domestic spending by record amounts. But that spending will be in vain if we don’t control the virus.

Coordinated swaps among central banks can also bring liquidity to emerging economies. Debt alleviation must also be a priority – including immediate waivers on interest payments for 2020.

Third, recover better.

We simply cannot return to where we were before COVID-19 struck, with societies unnecessarily vulnerable to crisis. The pandemic has reminded us, in the starkest way possible, of the price we pay for weaknesses in health systems, social protections and public services. It has underscored and exacerbated inequalities, above all gender inequity, laying bare the way in which the formal economy has been sustained on the back of invisible and unpaid care labour. It has highlighted ongoing human rights challenges, including stigma and violence against women.

Now is the time to redouble our efforts to build more inclusive and sustainable economies and societies that are more resilient in the face of pandemics, climate change and other global challenges. The recovery must lead to a different economy. Our roadmap remains the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals.

The United Nations system is fully mobilized: supporting country responses, placing our supply chains at the world’s disposal, and advocating for a global cease-fire.

Ending the pandemic everywhere is both a moral imperative and a matter of enlightened self-interest. At this unusual moment, we cannot resort to the usual tools. Extraordinary times demand extraordinary measures. We face a colossal test which demands decisive, coordinated and innovative action from all, for all.

The article first appeared in The Guardian.

The author is Secretary-General of the United Nations

A New Year’s Message from the United Nations

From here at the United Nations, I join you in welcoming the New Year.

We enter 2020 with uncertainty and insecurity all around.

Persistent inequality and rising hatred.

A warring world and a warming planet.

Climate change is not only a long-term problem but a clear and present danger.

We cannot afford to be the generation that fiddled while the planet burned.

But there is also hope.

This year, my New Year’s message is to the greatest source of that hope: the world’s young people.

From climate action to gender equality to social justice and human rights, your generation is on the frontlines and in the headlines.

I am inspired by your passion and determination.

You are rightly demanding a role in shaping the future.

I am with you.

The United Nations stands with you – and belongs to you.

2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.

We are launching a Decade of Action for the Sustainable Development Goals, our blueprint for a fair globalization.

This year, the world needs young people to keep speaking out. Keep thinking big.  Keep pushing boundaries.  And keep up the pressure.

I wish you peace and happiness in 2020.

Thank you.

Video message available here

The UN Secretary-General’s message on World Press Freedom Day, 3 May 2019

A free press is essential for peace, justice, sustainable development and human rights.

No democracy is complete without access to transparent and reliable information. It is the cornerstone for building fair and impartial institutions, holding leaders accountable and

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

speaking truth to power.

This is especially true during election seasons — the focus of this year’s World Press Freedom Day.

Facts, not falsehoods, should guide people as they choose their representatives.

Yet while technology has transformed the ways in which we receive and share information, sometimes it is used to mislead public opinion or to fuel violence and hatred.

Civic space has been shrinking worldwide at an alarming rate.

And with anti-media rhetoric on the rise, so too are violence and harssasment against journalists, including women.

I am deeply troubled by the growing number of attacks and the culture of impunity.

According to UNESCO, almost 100 journalists were killed in 2018.

Hundreds are imprisoned.

When media workers are targeted, societies as a whole pay a price.
On World Press Freedom Day, I call on all to defend the rights of journalists, whose efforts help us to build a better world for all.

Thank you.

The Secretary-General -Remarks on the 25th Anniversary of the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda

12 April 2019
[as delivered]

I am honoured to be with you on this solemn and moving occasion.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

In one of the darkest chapters in recent human history, more than one million people – overwhelmingly Tutsi, but also moderate Hutu and others who opposed the genocide – were systematically killed in less than three months.

On this Day, we honour those who were murdered and reflect on the suffering and resilience of those who survived.

I would particularly like to acknowledge the presence of our dear guests from Rwanda – Mrs. Esther Mujawayo and Father Marcel Uwineza – who survived the genocide and who will be sharing their stories with us.

Today we stand in solidarity with the people of Rwanda.

But, our reflection on the Rwandan genocide also must should beyond one country and one moment in history.

We must take a hard look at the present.

As we renew our resolve to prevent such atrocities from ever happening again, we are seeing dangerous trends of rising xenophobia, racism and intolerance in many parts of the world.

Particularly troubling is the current widespread proliferation of hate speech and incitement to violence. Things that were very clearly present in Rwanda immediately before the genocide.

They are an affront to our values, and threaten human rights, social stability and peace.

The massacre at two mosques in New Zealand a few weeks ago is just the latest tragedy rooted in such poison.

Today’s commemoration gives us an opportunity to once again raise our voices against racism, xenophobia and related intolerance, including social and ethnic discrimination, anti-Muslim hatred and anti-Semitism.

Wherever they occur, these evils should be identified, confronted and stopped to prevent them leading, as they have in the past, to hate crimes and genocide.

I call on all political, religious and civil society leaders to reject hate speech and discrimination, and to work vigorously to address and mitigate the root causes that undermine social cohesion and create conditions for hatred and intolerance.

The capacity for evil resides in all societies.

But, so too, do the qualities of understanding, kindness, justice and reconciliation.

That is one of the profound lessons of the Rwandan experience.

The country’s recovery is a rightful source of pride and comfort for the people and Government of Rwanda.

I would also like to commend Rwanda for its exemplary role in the international community.

Rwanda is today the fourth largest contributor to UN peacekeeping operations.

It is notable that a nation that has endured the worst atrocities should risk its soldiers to ensure those atrocities cannot happen elsewhere.

After having suffered unspeakable gender-based violence, women now hold 60 per cent of parliamentary seats – another example that Rwanda can share with the world.

Rwanda has also embraced environmental sustainability.

As a pioneer in banning single-use plastic bags, it is now one of the cleanest nations on earth.

In all, Rwanda’s experience holds so many lessons for humanity.

From the darkest depths, the country has risen in a quarter century as a pioneer for the sustainable future we all strive for.

On this day of commemoration, let us all pledge to work together to build a harmonious future for all people, everywhere.

This is the best way to honour those who lost their lives so tragically in Rwanda 25 years ago.

Thank you.

The UN Secretary General- Message on The International Day of Zero Tolerance For Female Genital Mutilation

6 February 2019

Female genital mutilation is an abhorrent human rights violation affecting women and girls

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

around the world. It denies them their dignity, endangers their health and causes needless pain and suffering, even death.

Female genital mutilation is rooted in gender inequalities and power imbalances– and it sustains them by limiting opportunities for girls and women to realize their rights and full potential. An estimated 200 million women and girls alive today have been subject to this harmful practice. And every year, almost 4 million girls are at risk.

The Sustainable Development Goals call for the elimination of female genital mutilation by 2030. The United Nations joins hands with global, regional and national actors in supporting holistic and integrated initiatives to achieve this objective. Tackling FGM is also a central part of our efforts in the Spotlight Initiative, launched in partnership with the European Union to end all forms of violence against women and girls.

With strong political commitment, we are seeing positive change in several countries. However, if current trends persist, these advances will continue to be outpaced by rapid population growth where the practice is concentrated.

On this Day of Zero Tolerance, I call for increased, concerted and global action to end female genital mutilation and fully uphold the human rights of all women and girls.

Message in other UN official languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian,Spanish.

More information

Press Release: Holocaust Day – UN Resident Coordinator Janet Rogan calls for Love and Peace

MANY CALL FOR PEACE AND LOVE AS ZAMBIA MARKS THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF COMMEMORATION IN MEMORY OF THE VICTIMS OF THE HOLOCAUST

LUSAKA, 31 January 2019 – On 29 January 2019, United Nations Resident Coordinator Ms. Janet

UN Resident Coordinator Zambia, Ms. Janet Rogan

UN Resident Coordinator Zambia, Ms. Janet Rogan

Rogan spoke at a commemorative event in Lusaka to remember the victims of the Holocaust with a call for love and need to defend human rights. Six million Jews and other groups of people were killed during the Holocaust between 1941-1945 by the Nazi regime and their collaborators.

“It is necessary for us not only to remember the people who were mercilessly murdered during the holocaust, during the genocides, but also to think hard about the reasons why they were killed; to think about how the general population was incited against those people of difference. And it is necessary to do everything possible to teach ourselves and our children how to defend ourselves against such evil ideologies so that such crimes can never, ever again be perpetrated in our presence or our collective knowledge,” Ms Rogan said.

The event, organised by the UN Information Centre Lusaka, was held under the theme: ‘Holocaust Remembrance: Demand and Defend Your Human Rights.’
Minister of National Guidance and Religious Affairs, Reverend Godfridah Sumaili, MP, was guest of honour. In her speech, the Honourable Minister called upon youths to reject violence and instead contribute meaningfully to Zambia’s development.

“I call on youths to refuse to be used as tools to injure other people simply because they are different from one group…The youths should take their rightful place as future leaders and

A student makes comments reflecting upon the commemoration.

A student makes comments reflecting upon the commemoration.

seek meaningful participation in the development of Zambia. Zambia depends on youths as agents for change. Fighting is not one of the ways to participate in development,” Rev. Sumaili said.

The event involved informative exhibitions including a historical video narrating events and decisions that forever changed the world, and a multi-paneled exhibition where students read testimonies, viewed family photographs and learned about The Butterfly Project: stories from children and their families during the Holocaust.

Others who joined children and youth at the event in expressing their views on peace, unity, love and tolerance were a representative from the Council of Churches in Zambia, Zambia-Israel Initiative Bishop Peter Tande Mulenga, former Namwala Member of Parliament Dr. Ompie Nkumbuka-Liebenthal, Chairperson of the Council for Zambia Jewry Simon Zukas and other members of the Jewish Community in Zambia including Cynthia Zukas, Shalomi Abutbul, Izak Ephrati and Robert Liebenthal.

On 1st November 2005, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 60/7 designating 27th January as an annual International Day in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. This day serves as an opportunity to raise awareness and bolster inclusivity among every person within their daily lives by continuing to thrive and to strive for better living standards together, undivided.

For more information, please contact:

United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lusaka
Mark Maseko, National Information Officer
P: +260-211-225-494  E: info.lusaka@unic.org

Zambian Students Learn About the Holocaust

By Shiho Kuwahara, University Volunteer, UNIC Lusaka

UNIC Lusaka organized a thought-provoking event on the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust” at the University of Zambia Chapel in Zambia’s

Group photo of attendees.

Group photo of attendees.

capital, Lusaka. About 100 people, including 70 students from four secondary schools participated in the event at which the Minister of National Guidance and Religious Affairs, Rev Godfridah Sumaili was guest of honour. Other dignitaries included Ms. Janet Rogan, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Zambia, Mr. Simon Zukas Chairperson of the Council for Zambia Jewry, Ms Victoria Chitundu, Director for Lusaka National Museum and representatives from the Jewish community in Zambia and other Faith-Based Organisations.

Rev Sumaili emphasized the importance of observing the Holocaust.

“This is a very important day as it helps us to save the coming generations from the scourge of unprecedented acts of genocide as witnessed when over six million Jews and other groups of people including Jehovah’s witnesses and gypsies were killed by the Nazi regime. Further, commemorating the Holocaust is important in reminding us of the need to protect and defend human rights,” she said.

Ms. Rogan said in her speech that it was necessary for all to not only remember the people who were mercilessly murdered during the holocaust, but also to think hard about the reasons why they were killed; to think about how the general population was incited against those people of difference. She called for need to do create awareness about need to speak and act evil ideologies so that crimes such as the Holocaust can never, ever again be perpetrated.

“To hold this kind of event is meaningful not only to honour millions of victims, but also to let people think about the value of peace to prevent the tragedy from occurring again,” she said.

Mr. Zukas shared that he lost family members during the Holocaust, a narration that left a few teary eyes in the audience. This was echoed by his wife Cynthia Zukas, who also spoke about similar losses of family members at the hands of the Nazi in concentration camps.

Pupils expressed the need for love, tolerance and unity. One pupil noted that through the event, she was able to better understand the Holocaust as it was her first-time ever hearing about these acts of genocide by the in Nazi regime. The children also observed an exhibition called Butterfly Project, a narrative about the Holocaust by children who survived the atrocities.

Picture gallery

UN Secretary-General’s remarks at UN Holocaust Memorial Ceremony

New York, 28 January 2019

[as delivered]

We are here together to remember the victims of the Holocaust – the six million Jews and many

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

others murdered during a period of unprecedented, calculated cruelty, when human dignity was cast aside for a racial ideology.

I extend a special welcome to the Holocaust survivors with us today, especially Mr. Marian Turski and Ms. Inge Auerbacher, who will share their testimony.

This International Day marks the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp 74 years ago yesterday. I also pay tribute to the veterans here today for their role in bringing the war and Holocaust to an end.

Yesterday was, by the way, also the 75th anniversary of the lifting of the siege of Leningrad.  That prolonged the blockade — 872 days of siege, starvation and suffering – that was a horror within the horror.

As we remember, we also reaffirm our resolve to fight the hatred that still plagues our world today.

In fact, it is necessary – more and more – that we sound an alarm.

It is just three months since a man armed to the teeth entered the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh shouting “all Jews must die”.

He murdered 11 worshippers observing Shabbat.

It was the worst anti-Semitic attack in the history of the United States.

Last month at a Jewish cemetery near Strasbourg, in France, vandals smeared swastikas on dozens of tombstones and defaced a monument to Holocaust victims.

And just days ago in Bulgaria, stones were thrown through the window of Sofia’s central synagogue.

I would like to be able to say that these incidents were aberrations, or that they are only the last gasps of a prejudice that deserves to die.

But sadly, what we are instead seeing is the flame of a centuries-old fire gaining in intensity.

Not only is anti-Semitism still strong – it is getting worse.

We must rise up against rising anti-Semitism.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, anti-Semitic incidents in the United States increased by 57 per cent in 2017.

The European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency reported last year that 28 per cent of Jews had experienced some form of harassment just for being Jewish.  Many added that fears for their safety have led them to stay away from Jewish events – or even to contemplate emigrating.

Another poll in Europe by CNN revealed the strong persistence of classic anti-Semitic motifs.

In fact, the old anti-Semitism is back.

At the same time, we are seeing attempts to rewrite the history of the Holocaust, to distort its magnitude and to sanitize the wartime records of leaders, citizens and societies.

Meanwhile, neo-Nazi groups are proliferating.

A recent Public Broadcasting System Frontline programme conducted an in-depth exploration of one of the extremist and white supremacist organizations in the United States that promote hatred against Jews, and also other minorities, homosexuals and others.

Their views are right out of “Mein Kampf”.  They have, by the way, a similar book written by their leader.

Their recruitment methods target the disaffected.

They seek out people with military experience – and encourage sympathizers to join the armed forces to gain weapons training.

And the massacre in Pittsburgh was precisely in keeping with their advocacy of violent, so-called “lone wolf” attacks.

Inevitably, where there is anti-Semitism, no one else is safe.  Across the world, we are seeing a disturbing rise in other forms of bigotry.

Attacks on Muslims in several societies are on the rise, sometimes even outpacing other forms of hatred.

Rohingyas, Yazidis and many others have faced persecution simply for who they are.

Intolerance today spreads at lightning speed across the Internet and social media.

Perhaps most disturbingly, hate is moving into the mainstream – in liberal democracies and authoritarian systems alike.

We have seen this throughout the debate on human mobility, which has featured a stream of invective, falsely linking refugees and migrants to terrorism and scapegoating them for many of society’s ills.

Major political parties are incorporating ideas from the fringes in their propaganda and electoral campaigns.

Parties once rightly considered pariahs are gaining influence over governments.

And where once some political figures used the so-called “dog whistle” to signal their followers, today they also feel able to trumpet their noxious views for all to hear.

Political discourse is being coarsened.

And with each broken norm, the pillars of humanity are weakened.

That is part of what Hannah Arendt identified as the path towards totalitarianism.

We should not exaggerate the comparisons to the 1930s.

But equally let us not ignore the similarities.

We see some societies wanting to turn back the clock on diversity.

Political establishments have a profound and growing trust deficit.

The demonization of others rages on.

Such hatred is easy to uncork, and very hard to put back in the bottle.

One urgent challenge today is to heed the lessons of history and the Holocaust.

First, by keeping memory alive.

A recent poll in Europe found that one third of people say they know little or nothing about the Holocaust.

Among millennials, some two-thirds had no idea Auschwitz was a death camp.

As the number of survivors dwindles, it falls to us all to carry their testimony to future generations.  This is our duty and we must make sure that what the memory of survivors is able to tell will persist forever.

Education is crucial – about the Holocaust, about genocide and crimes against humanity, about racism and the history of slavery.

The United Nations and the Holocaust Outreach Programme has activities in dozens of countries, and we are strongly committed to expanding its reach.

And, we must stand up to those who disseminate hatred.

I have asked my Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide to assess the efforts of the UN system in countering hate speech and to devise a global plan of action to deepen this essential work.

We had, just last Saturday in Park East Synagogue, a very moving testimony from Rabbi Schneier proposing that we should gather Ministers of Education all over the world to make sure that in schools these questions are clearly introduced in the curricula and that students will never be able to deny these facts.

Because indeed, countering hate speech is essential to preventing hate crimes.

That means rejecting hate in schools and workplaces, at sporting events and on the street.

And it means reaffirming universal values and equal rights.

Finally, we must bring those rights to life.

Proclaiming principles is not enough.

Vilifying the violators is not enough.

We must go further by working for a fair globalization, by building democratic societies, and by addressing the roots of the anxieties and angers that make people susceptible to populism and demagoguery.

Governments and international organizations must show they care and make rights real in the lives of all.

One of the great shocks of the Second World War was how a society of such high attainment proved so ripe for Hitler’s venom.

In his diaries of the years from 1933 to 1945, Victor Klemperer wrote, and I quote:

“Curious: At the very moment modern technology annuls all frontiers and distances…, the most extreme nationalism is raging.”  This was said in the ‘30s.

We are not immune to the same risks today.

Our response must be clear: to strengthen all we do to build the defences, the laws and the mindsets that will uphold the dignity of all, for all time, having the fight against anti-semitism in the front lines.

Thank you very much.