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Statement by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay for the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust

26 January 2011
(…) The Holocaust should serve as a reminder of the dangers of marginalization of particular groups in society. It should remind us that hateful words have the ability to translate into hateful actions. The threat of genocide still remains. It is the ultimate and most terrible expression of intolerance, xenophobia and racism. This day is an annual reminder that we must act more decisively at the first signs that a climate conducive to genocide is starting to develop. We must be vigilant against emerging trends towards the vilification of communities and pre-empt, through law, policy and education, the prejudice that can in its worst forms lead to genocide.
And we must not underestimate the importance of bringing to justice, through individual criminal responsibility, perpetrators of these crimes. The recent international ad hoc tribunals, established to deal with genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, as well as the International Criminal Court, owe a debt to the precedents set by the Nuremberg trials, and several subsequent tribunals, which resulted in successful prosecutions. In this connection, I reiterate my call to States to ratify the Statute of the International Criminal Court, which is similarly built on a clear commitment to put an end to impunity. (…)
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