Hungarian Embassy in Berlin Hosted Ceremony of IHRA
Hungary assumes chairmanship of the International Holocaust Remembrance AllianceMarch 03rd, 2015
On Monday 9th of March, Hungarian representatives officially acquired chairmanship of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. Szabolcs Takács, the commissioner appointed by the Prime Minister’s Office to coordinate activities during the Hungarian presidency stated that the current role of his country in IHRA presents a great honor.
The ceremony was held in the Hungarian embassy building in Berlin. The Hungarian chairmanship will traditionally focus on combating anti-Semitism and improve education methods on the Holocaust. Additionally, it will try to enlighten the public about the genocide of the Roman people. The handover ceremony took place in Berlin, as this is where the permanent seat of the organization’s High Secretariat is located.
Former Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson initiated the work of the IHRA in May 1998. One of the impulses for the establishment of IHRA was the result of a poll conducted among high school children in Sweden, which spread doubts on whether or not the genocide of the Jews during World War II was legitimate. The IHRA was conceived as a short-lived group of governments supporting educational efforts relating to the Jewish Holocaust. Since then, it has become an intergovernmental body with thirty-one member countries, four observer countries, and six permanent observer organizations focused on Holocaust education, remembrance and national and international research. The Permanent Office of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in Berlin was established on 11 March 2008. It was created in order to ensure continuity between Chairmanships and manage the administrative activities of the IHRA.
“This year began with shocking events in Paris and lately in Denmark by fanatics who, with stunningly bold violence, demonstrated their intolerance of the views of others. Sadly enough all these phenomena of harsh violence and extremism are coupled with old and new forms of anti-Semitism. Education is the main, almost the only tool to effectively counter this," stated the new Chairman. Previous chairman Sir Andrew Burns, who headed the British presidency, highlighted that Albania, Moldova and El Salvador had become observer countries of the IHRA in the last year, and that the organisation has strengthened ties with the Vatican. The Hungarian Chairmanship plans to host two IHRA Plenary meetings during the course of this year, one in Budapest in June and another in Debrecen this November.
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