Intervention by Ambassador Katalin Bogyay to address concerns of a rise in Antisemitic violence worldwide, delivered at the informal plenary of the UN General Assembly, held on 22 January 2015.
The Government of Hungary strongly condemns the terrorist attack against the Jewish community in Paris, on 9 January 2015. The Phenomena of Rising Antisemitism in Western and Eastern Europe clearly shows that the fight against Antisemitism has to continue.
Keeping the memory of Holocaust is not an easy responsibility. It means speaking about the horrors that are “unspeakable,” it means experiencing that which is often regarded as “unimaginable.” It may be tempting for some to let these horrors fade and become a distant memory. We are not naturally predisposed to see evil and to recognize human potential for it.
Where you've fallen, you will stay.
In the whole universe this one
and only place is the sole place
which you have made your very own.
The country runs away from you.
House, mill, poplar—every thing
is struggling with you here, as if
in nothingness mutating.
But now it's you who won't give up.
Did we fleece you? You've grown rich.
Did we blind you? You watch us still.
You bear witness without speech.
(János Pilinszky: On the Wall of a KZ Lager)
In response to the German philosopher Adorno’s famous dictum that „to write poetry after the holocaust is barbaric” – this poem was written after Auschwitz, by a Hungarian Catholic poet, János Pilinszky, who wanted us never to forget. He dedicated his life to writing about the sin of humanity and the responsibility of the ones who have collaborated with the evil.
Millions of souls were lost during the years of Nazi tyranny. Let us pay our respect to those who have perished and suffered, and let us reaffirm our solemn vow to never let it happen again.
We would like to thank the President of the General Assembly and Israel for proposing and organizing today’s important meeting.
We fully support the statement of the European Union and the cross-regional joint statement circulated by Israel.
The Hungarian Government implements a principle of zero tolerance policy in connection with all forms of hate speech and deeds, including Antisemitic incidents. We share the view that Antisemitism challenges the core values of democracy and human rights and poses a clear threat to our societies.
The extremely dangerous trends all over the world can only be tackled by strong political leadership, coordinated and comprehensive policies and actions and EDUCATION!
The Hungarian Government has implemented a series of important legislative and policy measures with a focus on three key areas: 1) law enforcement and legal measures; 2) Holocaust education and remembrance; 3) the support of the revival of Jewish culture.
Holocaust denial is banned in Hungary. Violence or incitement against a community is part of the Criminal Code. The paramilitary group “Hungarian Guard” was banned by a modification of the Criminal Code that is strictly enforced by the Government.
The Hungarian Government is aware of the challenges posed by hate speech which requires a careful approach in order to strike the right balance between efficiently countering hate speech while upholding the right to freedom of expression. A recent amendment of the Constitution enables the prosecution of hate speech under civil law, a step which was welcomed by the Jewish community. Just a few days ago, a Hungarian court issued a verdict which ordered the deletion of an article denying Holocaust on a far right online portal.ú
Hungary was among those countries which joined the Stockholm Declaration in 2000 and two years later it became a full Member Country of the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research. We remain fully committed to the principles and objectives of the Stockholm Declaration.
Holocaust education is part of the national core curriculum in Hungary. Museums, research centers dedicated to the Holocaust can be found all over the country.
As part of our commitment to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust and to honor those who stood against it, 16 April was designated as National Holocaust Remembrance Day and a Holocaust Memorial Center was established .The Government dedicated 2013 as Raoul Wallenberg Year, followed by the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the remembrance of all the victims of the Holocaust in Hungary in 2014. The remembrance years serve as platforms for honest dialogue.
The Hungarian Government is dedicated to the promotion of Jewish culture and the preservation of Jewish heritage sites. Come and visit Mazel Tov, one of the coolest and fashionable cafés in Budapest, the meeting point of young people from all over the world, witness the true revival of Jewish culture. The old Jewish District in Budapest has become a vibrant cultural center, located in UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Hungarian Government allocated a strong support to the renovation of Jewish cemeteries and synagogues and involves students in the process to raise their awareness about the Holocaust and the importance of the fight against Antisemitism.
In addition to these measures, the Government established last year a consultation mechanism with Jewish organizations, called the Roundtable of Jewish Communities, which provides an effective forum for dialogue and enables timely discussion about issues of concern to the Jewish community.
In partnership with civil society, the Hungarian Government recently launched a project to monitor and prevent Antisemitic activities, which includes a hotline service to report Antisemitic incidents and will improve data collection and analysis in this field.
In line with our commitments to never forget the darkest times of Hungary, the victims of the Holocaust and to honor those who stood against it, Hungary will assume the Chairmanship of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) as of March this year. We are honored for this opportunity and will dedicate our Chairmanship to three main goals: the fight against Antisemitism, the promotion of Holocaust education and awareness raising about the Roma genocide.
Thank you, Mr. President.