UN ceremony pays tribute to Holocaust victims

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Wide view of the General Assembly on the occasion of the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. UN Photo/Manuel Elias

Holocaust survivors, veterans of the Second World War and their families were among the audience that packed the UN General Assembly Hall on Friday to pay tribute to the six million Jews, and others, murdered by the Nazis.

In his address to the gathering, UN Secretary-General António Guterres spoke of how building a better future for all would be the best way to honour their memory.

Dianne Penn reports on the ceremony, which took place on the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.

The UN Secretary-General described the annual commemoration as a day "to mourn the loss of so many and so much." 

But, he said, it was also a time to remember, reflect and look forward. 

Mr Guterres pointed out that anti-Semitism, or hatred of Jews, has existed for millennia. 

He even spoke about how his homeland, Portugal, drove out some members of its Jewish community in the 16th century. 

The Secretary-General said anti-Semitism is still alive today, together with racism, xenophobia, anti-Muslim hatred and other forms of intolerance. 

"After the horrors of the 20th century, there should be no room for intolerance in the 21st. I guarantee you that as Secretary-General of the United Nations, I will be in the frontline of the battle against anti-Semitism and all other forms of hatred.

That is best way to build a future of dignity and equality for all – and the best way to honour the victims of the Holocaust we will never allow to be forgotten." 

The UN chief also paid tribute to the late author Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and former UN Messenger of Peace who died last year, calling him "one of the world's most passionate voices for mutual respect and acceptance." 

Dianne Penn, United Nations. 

Duration: 1’24″

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