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Statement by H. E. Mr. Margus Kolga at the UNGA Special Session on Combating Antisemitism

22.01.2015

Estonia, among other countries, is deeply concerned about the growing manifestations of hatred, intolerance, discrimination and anti-Semitism in Europe and elsewhere. We, all countries around the world, we the United Nations, must step forward and play a pivotal role in combating those manifestations, in combating anti-Semitism, as well as other forms and manifestations of racism, xenophobia and religious intolerance.

 

My Nation condemns the attacks in Paris earlier this month, the shooting in the Jewish Museum of Belgium last year, and other acts of terror occurred recently. Nevertheless the Holocaust remains a part of living memory we see with alarm that Jewish communities around the world are once again under attack. Estonia condemns these acts of violence and is united with the international community in mourning the victims.

 

In Europe, as well as in Estonia, we are resolute and united in defending our values, of which freedom of expression is an inseparable part, as well as in resisting evil, hatred and violence that denies this freedom.

 

As there is a direct link between anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, Estonia also reaffirms our strong and unconditional support for the principles of the Stockholm Declaration of the year 2000, and the solemn commitments which our governments then undertook. According to the declaration, it is our responsibility to combat genocide, ethnic cleansing, racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia.

The Estonian Government has repeatedly condemned the crimes of Nazis and other totalitarian regimes and takes all occurrences of Nazism, racism and xenophobia very seriously. We are determined to continue to develop our international cooperation on Holocaust education, remembrance and research to prevent future genocides. This said I think that the long term key is in education, in education given at school and education given at home.

We in Estonia are proud of the fact that in 1926, Estonia was the first country in the world to declare cultural autonomy to its Jewish community. This noble past, as well as the tragic fate of Jewish community during the Holocaust, obliges us also today. In independent Estonia, after half a century of foreign occupations, the Jewish community once again holds an important place in our society and in our economic and cultural life. Today, Jews – like all other minorities– are guaranteed the freedom to practice their faith and to maintain their cultural heritage. Well integrated Estonian Jews consider Estonia to be their safe homeland, where anti-Semitism has never existed on the governmental level – this fact, as well as good cooperation with state representatives, has repeatedly been publicly stated by the leaders of the Estonian Jewish community.

Today, on the eve of 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camps, the commemoration of the darkest days in Europe, we are here to solemnly pledge that anti-Semitism shall not have a place in our free and tolerant society, and we will do everything in our power to fight against it. Let the dark shadows from the past never appear again.

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