Today 8 October 2014 Minister of Foreign Affairs Titus Corlăţean took part in the events organized on the occasion of the National Holocaust Commemoration Day (9 October) - the commemorative ceremony at the Holocaust Memorial in Bucharest and the special session organized by the Chamber of Deputies within the Romanian Parliament. The member of a delegation of International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) also participated in the events, during their visit to Romania between 8 and 9 October 2014. The Delegation is formed of the IHRA incumbent President Sir Andrew Burns and the IHRA Executive Secretary Dr. Kathryn Meyer. The visit aimed at promoting the efforts of the host-state to commemorate the Holocaust on a national level.
On the occasion of laying wreaths at the Holocaust Memorial in Bucharest, Minister of Foreign Affairs underlined the special national significance of 9 October and reasserted Romania's commitment to commemorate the Holocaust, to educate its citizens on the Holocaust and to combat any forms of anti-Semitism and intolerance. In this respect, Minister Corlăţean stated that "The need to commemorate the Holocaust and to learn the harsh lessons of the past determined Romania to set by law the date of 9 October as Holocaust Day. Thus, starting from 2004, our country thus commemorates the Holocaust, an important event in the historic memory of the Romanian people and it is a good occasion to recall the devastating impact of intolerance and anti-Semitism on humanity as a whole. The inauguration, on 8 October, of the Holocaust Victims Memorial in Bucharest is a very important step in admitting the tragedy, the accountability of those responsible and the respect that we owe to the victims' memory."
"During the past years, Romania has achieved a number of important steps to support the study of the Holocaust, so that younger generations may discover the truth about this tragic stage in our history. I would like to point out that Romanian law has clear provisions condemning Holocaust denial and incitement to anti-Semitism. We are determined to fight against any attempt to deny the Holocaust, and against any attempt to incite to anti-Semitism," added Foreign Minister in his speech.
Subsequently, as part of the events organized on the same occasion, Minister Titus Corlăţean participated in a special session organized by the Chamber of Deputies of the Romanian Parliament. In his speech, Titus Corlăţean specified that the organization's annual commemoration events contribute to keeping alive the tragedy of the Holocaust."The testimonies of Holocaust survivors play a major role in the fight against intolerance, discrimination and exclusion of any kind. The legacy that Holocaust survivors have left to us must be handed down to each generation. It is our duty never to forget their pain," the Romanian Foreign Minister said. In this context, Minister Titus Corlăţean expressed concern about the reappearance, in parts of European society, of racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic trends, noting that it is important to resume high-level initiatives aimed at building continental cooperation in order to eradicate this inadmissible phenomenon.
Among the actions that have established Romania's determined stance regarding the Holocaust, Titus Corlăţean mentioned the establishment of the National Institute on the Study of the Holocaust in Romania, of the Hebrew Studies Center in Iasi, the initiation of the Wiesel Commission Report. He noted in particular the cooperation with the Federation of Hebrew Communities in Romania and the extremely rich activity of this organization in support of the Hebrew community in Romania and the fruitful work of the "Elie Wiesel" National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania, and of the other Hebrew organizations that are active in our country.
"I wish to express my full respect and support for all those who contribute to keeping alive in the collective memory of humanity the memory of the tragic events as the main way to prevent the recurrence of such crimes. A civilization of peace cannot rise unless it clearly condemns violence, discrimination and racial hatred," Minister Titus Corlăţean stated at the end of his speech.
International Holocaust Remembrance and Alliance (IHRA), formerly called ITF (Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research) is an inter-governmental organization created in 1998 at the initiative of the Swedish Prime Minister at the time.
The main objective of IHRA is to encourage activities related to the promotion of education, research and commemoration of the Holocaust in the Member States and other interested countries and to ensure the necessary political support to materialize them.
To achieve its objective, the composition of national delegations includes, in addition to representatives of national governments, experts in the mentioned fields, which allows Holocaust expertise to be made available to policy makers.
Currently, the organization has 31 member states. Romania was accepted as a full member of the ITF on 16 December 2004. From 2004 up to the present, Romania has shown a steady involvement in the work of IHRA, by sending representatives both at the current plenary meetings and at the topical meetings, and through its involvement in the ongoing activities of the Working Groups.
In October 2013, Romania has announced its intention to undertake the presidency of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) in 2016.
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