Permanent Mission of Croatia in Geneva organized on 28 March 2023 a side event entitled „Croatian Presidency of IHRA and IHRA’s tools in fighting antisemitism“ with the aim of presenting the priorities of the first Croatian presidency of International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, and discussing the global problem of rising hate speech and antisemitism. The event was held at the margins of the 52nd session of the UN Human Rights Council in the premises of the Palais des Nations in Geneva. The event represented the first official presentation of IHRA in the auspices of the UN HRC.
At the beginning of the event, Croatian Co-Chairs: Terezija Gras, State Secretary in the Ministry of Interior and Sara Lustig, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister presented main priorities of the presidency’s programme and highlighted the importance of the first IHRA presidency for Croatia. The presentation was followed by the panel discussion that gathered the representatives of prominent IHRA members and partners, which shared national experiences and good practices in the usage of IHRA’s working definitions as policy tools in fighting antisemitism.
The participants of the panel were: Ms. Lara Romano, Head of Croatian Delegation to the IHRA, Mr. Razvan Rusu, Romanian Ambassador in Geneva and former Romanian Head of Delegation to IHRA, Michele Taylor, US Ambassador to the UNHRC in Geneva, Mr. Hans-Peter Jugel, Deputy Permanent Representative of Germany in Geneva, Mr. Leon Saltiel, Director of Diplomacy and Coordinator on countering antisemitism in the WJC in Geneva and Ms. Heather Mann, a representative of the UNESCO, as a longstanding partner of IHRA, who participated via Webex.
The participants emphasized that fostering Holocaust remembrance becomes more important than ever, as we are the last generation to have had the opportunity to know its survivors and witnesses. It is, therefore, crucial to educate young people about the causes and consequences of the Holocaust. Moreover, in light of the proliferation of twisted and misleading facts about Holocaust, from internet and social media to public statements, one of the main tasks becomes fighting the Holocaust denial and distortion which feeds into antisemitic narratives and can lead to more violent forms of antisemitism.
In that regard, it was concluded that the tools developed by IHRA, primarily its three working definitions, give valuable contribution in defining antisemitism and Holocaust denial and distortion, as the first steps, as well as in shaping comprehensive public policies and strategies for preventing, monitoring and countering antisemitism, racism, hate speech and xenophobia on national and international level.