As we commemorate the millions of victims of the Holocaust, antisemitic and xenophobic acts and hate speech are on the rise in Europe and beyond.
Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic posted this on Facebok on Monday, adding:
“We all, state authorities, international organizations, civil society, academia and the media must do our utmost to counter this trend and recommit to the values and principles born after the tragedy of the Holocaust.”
In particular, state authorities must firmly condemn and prosecute all instances of antisemitic, racist and xenophobic acts and hate speech. Politicians and opinion leaders should refrain from speech and acts that vilify and dehumanize the other. Media should use the highest journalistic standards to counter hate speech and expose stereotypes and promote dialogue and remembrance, Mijatovic said
It is also crucial to invest more in education. Genocides never happen by accident. They begin well before they occur, when human beings are singled out because of their identity or when public discourse demeans the other and marginalizes critical voices. And they continue afterwards, when denial and impunity set in, insulting the victims and exacerbating the suffering of the survivors,” the CoE official said.
That’s why we need education systems that educate about the past, educate to debunk myths, educate about justice and equality for all. This is the best tool we have to uphold our collective duty to keep the promise of a world free from racism and antisemitism, not just on commemorative occasions but every day, Mijatovic concluded.