links about us archives search home
SustainabiliTankSustainabilitank menu graphic
SustainabiliTank

 
 
Follow us on Twitter


 
Mongolia:

 

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 25th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Kyodo News, Sunday, November 25, 2007 – Permafrost in Mongolia thinning out.

The thickness of Mongolian permafrost has dropped by 1 to 2 meters in the last seven years as the earth continues to heat up, joint research by the National Institute for Environmental Studies and Keio University showed Saturday.

The permanently frozen soil at observation points south of Ulan Bator will disappear completely in 20 years’ time if the air temperature keeps rising at its current pace, the researchers said.

The annual average temperature in Mongolia rose 1.82 degrees from 1940 to 2004 and by 2.31 in Ulan Bator. As the land grows drier, Mongolia’s grasslands will be annihilated and wreak havoc on the lives of its nomads, they said.

According to the research, the thickness of the permafrost was 4 to 6 meters in 1999 but dropped to 2 to 3 meters in 2006. Even allowing for a margin of error, the permafrost is estimated to have thinned by 1 to 2 meters.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 28th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

BEIJING, Feb 28 (Reuters) – A severe drought in southwestern China is threatening the water supplies of six million people in the crowded metropolis of Chongqing, Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday.

The city faces an acute water shortage in early March due to a continuing drought along the Yangtze River, the agency said citing a local meteorological expert.
“The city will be lacking at least 500 million cubic metres of drinking and irrigation water and about six million people will be thirsty,” Xinhua quoted the local meteorologist as saying.

Official figures show that the amount of water stored in Chongqing’s reservoirs is around 1.17 billion cubic meters, less than half the normal storage, it said.

The southern province of Guangdong said it was considering rationing water to industry, farms and residents to ease a drought there.

Last summer’s drought was the worst to hit southwest China in more than a century, when temperatures topped 40 degrees Celsius (104F) and about 18 million people faced water shortages.

Some parts of Chongqing — home to some 30 million people — had started limiting water supplies to residents and were drilling new wells to find underground sources, Xinhua reported earlier.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 27th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

The US resolution to outlaw via the UN system the denial of the Holocaust, had a total of 103 co-sponsors, and was adopted by the UN without vote. This made some misrepresent the fact as “an Acceptance by Consensus.” Some early UN releases even said that it was accepted by 192 States – which is a terrible misrepresentation. Iran, on the record, spoke up against it. We called this article “A Litmus Test” because as we shall show, by analyzing the available information, the behavior regarding this issue – that is a record of inhumanity by sort of civilized people – throws also disgusting shadows on governments that hold seats, as UN Member States – in the UN glass building.

An NGO sent us the following e-mail:

UN REFORM ADVOCATES
34 East 39th Street, Suite 1B
New York, N.Y. 10016
 Hoschoenberg at aol.com

UN REFORM ADVOCATES WELCOMES ADOPTION OF HOLOCAUST DENIAL RESOLUTION

United Nations, New York, N.Y., January 26, 2007 … UN Reform Advocates welcomed the adoption today by consensus of the UN General Assembly resolution condemning without reservation any denial of the Holocaust. It expressed its profound appreciation to United States Ambassador Alejandro D. Wolff and his colleagues for their exemplary efforts on behalf of this resolution, which ended up with 103 co-sponsors.

At the same time it is deeply troubled by the number of delegations that questioned the Holocaust. In the opinion of Dr. Harris O. Schoenberg, UN Reform Advocates President, “Holocaust denial is incompatible with UN membership, and could only too easily lead to a new manifestation of genocide.”

The adoption of the Assembly resolution coincides with the 62nd anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp on January 27, 1945 and the commemoration of that event by the UN this year on January 29th.

# # #

As per information we obtained from the American Mission to the UN the 103 co-sponsors are as per attached list. Going over the UN Member States listings, and comparing also this list with the list of the States that voted for in the original UNGA resolution that made recognized the Holocaust and declared January 27 as the UN day for remembrance of the Holocaust, very interesting patterns become clear. The fact that this time the final adoption of the resolution was by consensus, can nevertheless not cover the fact that 89 UN Member States opted for not becoming part of the list of co-sponsors.

10 States were declared “no shows.” Of these only Papua New Guinea voted for the first resolution – so we can say with clarity that 9 States out of the 10 did in effect declare that they did not want to be part of this resolution. Two more States “arrived too late” for the second resolution and did not co-sponsor the first resolution – thus, without any further diplomatic niceties – let us say that these 11 States clearly oppose the resolution, so any contention by the UN that 192 States voted by consensus for this resolution is a blatant lie.

Of the remaining 76 States, that were present in the hall, but did not sign for co-sponsorship, 12 States did co-sponsor the first resolution but did not co-sponsor the second resolution – this may be a sign that the politics of the Holocaust deniers have influenced their position and led them to remove their names from the list of co-sponsors.

Among the clear no-shows at the second resolution, who also did not co-sponsor the first resolution, were: Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Zimbabwe. We raise our eyebrows at South Africa and Swaziland, but are left blaze in what regards the rest – basically all states with questionable status at the UN. Saudi Arabia does not come as a surprise, since 1948 they have had no good word for Jews or Israel and funded activities that threaten those groups.The two remaining States on this list of 10 are Belize and Cambodia, and we can understand that this issue may be of no interest to them.

Those that arrived late now, and did not co-sponsor the first resolution, are Burundi and Tanzania.

The ten States that co-sponsored the first resolution but did not co-sponsor the second resolution, states we regard under suspicion of having given in to outside pressures, or perhaps even to pressure groups within their own country, are: Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Kazakhstan, Nicaragua, Philippines, Uganda, Uzbekistan. From This list we are amazed at the three Muslim States former members of the Soviet empire and of China.

On the other hand – Ghana, Grenada, Jamaica, Kenya, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Samoa, Senegal, Seychelles, Togo, Vanuatu are 13 UN Member States that did not co-sponsor the first resolution but DID co-sponsor the second resolution. So we see also a movement in the positive direction that shows that there is hope and governments do sometimes try to redress past wrong decisions. Specially we applaud here Ghana, Jamaica, Senegal, Mexico and Mongolia which we understand the source of pressures they were under.

Now we are left with 64 UN Member States that did not get involved in either of the two co-sponsorships but were present in the hall. Of these Iran made a statement declaring “the resolution is a political hypocritical exercise.” So goes out the window the concept of consensus.

As per attached complete listing, it is obvious that all of the States of the League of Arab States that are Members of the UN, are part of this list. But amazing that countries like India, Armenia, Venezuela and Vietnam are part of this list. Who would imagine that Armenia, a people that suffered of genocide against them, did not see the importance of these resolutions. They just had one of their own killed this week because he spoke out against the past killings of Armenians? But so be it.

———————————-

The co-sponsorships – this because there was no real voting except the negative voice of Iran.
Permanent Mission Previous Co-Sponsor Current Sponsor # Notes
NAME
Afghanistan
Albania …………….. yes yes … 1
Algeria
Andorra …………….. yes yes … 1
Angola
Antigua & Barbuda
Argentina ………….. yes yes … 1
Armenia
Australia ……………. yes yes … 1
Austria ………………. yes yes … 1
Azerbaijan … yes
Bahamas
Bahrain
Bangladesh
Barbados
Belarus … yes
Belgium …………….. yes yes … 1
Belize No Show
Benin ……………….. yes yes … 1
Bhutan
Bolivia ………………… yes yes … 1
Bosnia/Herzegovina …….. yes yes … 1
Botswana
Brazil ………………….. yes yes … 1
Brunei Darussalam
Bulgaria …………………… yes yes … 1
Burkina Faso
Burundi arrived too late
Cambodia No Show
Cameroon ………………….. yes yes … 1
Canada ……………………. yes yes … 1
Cape Verde
CAR ……………………… yes yes … 1
Chad
Chile ……………………… yes yes … 1
China ……….. yes
Columbia yes yes … 1
Comoros
Congo …………………. yes yes … 1
Costa Rica ……………. yes yes … 1
Cote d’lvoire …………….. yes yes … 1
Croatia …………………. yes yes … 1
Cuba
Cyprus …………………. yes yes … 1
Czech Republic ………….. yes yes … 1
Dem Korea
Dem Rep Congo …………. yes yes … 1
Denmark ………………….. yes yes … 1
Djibouti
Dominica
Dominican Republic ………. yes yes … 1
Ecuador … yes
Egypt
El Salvador …………………. yes yes … 1
Eq Guinea … yes
Eritrea
Estonia ……………………. yes yes … 1
Ethiopia …………………. yes yes … 1
Fiji ………………………. yes yes … 1
Finland …………………… yes yes … 1
France ………………….. yes yes … 1
Gabon ………………… yes yes … 1
Gambia … yes
Georgia ………………… yes yes … 1
Germany …………………. yes yes … 1
Ghana …………………… yes … 1
Greece ……………………. yes yes … 1
Grenada ………………… yes … 1
Guatemala ……………….. yes yes … 1
Guinea
Guinea-Bissazu
Guyana
Haiti ……………………….. yes yes … 1
Honduras ……………………. yes yes … 1
Hungary …………………. yes yes … 1
Iceland …………………… yes yes … 1
India
Indonesia
Iran
Iraq
Ireland ……………………. yes yes … 1
Israel ………………………… yes yes … 1
Italy ………………………… yes yes … 1
Jamaica …………………… yes … 1
Japan ……………………….. yes yes … 1
Jordan
Kazakhstan …. yes
Kenya ……………………… yes … 1
Kuwait
Kyrgyzstan
Lao People’s DR
Latvia ………………………. yes yes … 1
Lebanon
Lesotho
Liberia ……………………… yes yes … 1
Libya
Liechtenstein ………………. yes yes … 1
Lithuania ……………………… yes yes … 1
Luxembourg …………………. yes yes … 1
Macedonia …………………… yes yes … 1
Madagascar ………………….. yes yes … 1
Malawi
Malaysia
Maldives ………………… yes … 1
Mali ………. yes
Malta …………………………. yes yes … 1
Marshall Islands …………….. yes yes … 1
Mauritania
Mauritius ………………….. yes … 1
Mexico ……………………. yes … 1
Micronesia ………………….. yes yes … 1
Monaco …………………….. yes yes … 1
Mongolia …………………….. yes … 1
Montenegro …………………… yes yes … 1
Morocco
Mozambique ………………….. yes yes … 1
Myanmar
Namibia
Nauru …………………………. yes yes … 1
Nepal
Netherlands ………………….. yes yes … 1
New Zealand …………………. yes yes … 1
Nicaragua …. yes
Niger
Nigeria
Norway …………………… yes yes … 1
Oman
Pakistan
Palau ……………………. yes yes … 1
Panama …………………….. yes yes … 1
Papua New Guinea ….. yes No Show
Paraguay ………………………. yes yes … 1
Peru ………………………….. yes yes … 1
Phillipines …. yes
Poland ……………………… yes yes … 1
Portugal …………………… yes yes … 1
Qatar
Rep of Korea …………………. yes yes … 1
Rep of Moldova ………………… yes yes … 1
Romania ………………………….. yes yes … 1
Russian Federation …………….. yes yes … 1
Rwanda ………………………… yes yes … 1
St Kitts & Nevis ……………….. yes yes … 1
St Lucia
St Vincent/Grenadines
Samoa …………………………. yes … 1
San Marino …………………….. yes yes … 1
Sao Tome & Principe
Saudi Arabia No Show
Senegal …………………………. yes … 1
Serbia …………………………… yes yes … 1
Seychelles ……………………. yes … 1
Sierra Leone …………………….. yes yes … 1
Singapore ……………………….. yes yes … 1
Slovakia …………………………. yes yes … 1
Slovenia …………………………… yes yes … 1
Solomon Islands
Somalia No Show
South Africa No Show
Spain ……………………………… yes yes … 1
Sri Lanka
Sudan No Show
Suriname
Swaziland No Show
Sweden ……………………………. yes yes … 1
Switzerland ………………………. yes yes … 1
Syrian Arab Rep No Show
Tajikistan No Show
Thailand
Timor-Leste ………………………… yes yes … 1
Togo ………………………… yes … 1
Tonga ……………………………. yes yes … 1
Trinidad & Tabago ……………… yes yes … 1
Tunisia
Turkey ……………………………. yes yes … 1
Turkmenistan
Tuvalu
Uganda …. yes
Ukraine ……………………….. yes yes … 1
United Arab Emirates
UK …………………………….. yes yes … 1
United Rep of Tanzania arrived too late
USA …………………………… yes yes … 1
Uruguay …………………….. yes yes … 1
Uzbekistan … yes
Vanuatu ………………………. yes … 1
Venezuela
Viet Nam
Yemen
Zambia
Zimbabwe No show
total 103

——————————————–

Statement by Ambassador Wolff on the Introduction of the Holocaust Denial Resolution on 1-26-07

Madame President,

I have the honor to speak on behalf of 103 co-sponsors. As we prepare for
Monday’s observance of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the
victims of the Holocaust, it is crucial that the General Assembly declare,
unambiguously and forcefully, its condemnation, without any reservation, of any
denial of the Holocaust. The resolution we are introducing builds on the strong
foundation of resolution A/60/7 of 2005 in making clear that all people and all
states have a vital stake in a world free of genocide.

The terrible events of the Holocaust are deeply disturbing and will always
remain so. It was one of the most tragic moral catastrophes in the history of
humankind. We remember it, indeed we must remember it, to ensure that such
events are never repeated. Those who would deny the Holocaust–and, sadly,
there are some who do–reveal not only their ignorance but their moral failure
as well.

Finally, the resolution urges all member states unreservedly to reject any
denial of the Holocaust as an historical event, either in full or in part, or
any activities to this end. By so doing, this Assembly places its moral
authority, and its political will, squarely behind the very first words of our
Charter, “to save succeeding generations.” The United Nations was founded in
the immediate aftermath of World War II and the Holocaust, and it is
particularly fitting to remember this legacy.
Madame President, on behalf of the co-sponsors, I offer this resolution for
adoption. We hope that all member states will join in consensus so that the
United Nations may speak as one on this vital issue.

————————————–

The Statement Made by US Ambassador Alejandro D. Wolf After The Vote:

USUN PRESS RELEASE # 011 (07) January 26, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Explanation of Vote by Ambassador Alejandro D. Wolff, Acting U.S. Permanent
Representative, on Adoption of the Resolution on Holocaust Denial, at the
General Assembly, January 26, 2007

The United States strongly supports this Resolution that condemns without
reservation any denial of the Holocaust. This Assembly should be proud of
adopting today’s Resolution by consensus. It is shameful that one country
decided to reject that consensus.

Tomorrow will be the 62nd anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, a Nazi
death camp where over 1 million people were murdered. To this day, Auschwitz
serves as a powerful symbol of what can happen when tyranny and oppression go
unchecked. As we mourn those who lost their lives, we must, as
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted, “reassert our commitment to human rights”
which was “desecrated at Auschwitz and by genocides and atrocities since.”

The United States introduced and sponsored this important Resolution, not as a
rhetorical exercise, but because of the implications of Holocaust denial in the
world today. Some experts on the topic have noted that, “Every genocide is
followed by denial.” Despite the undeniable truth about the Holocaust, we are
now witnessing so-called scholars, even world leaders, attempting to revise
history, masking a more dangerous agenda.

This Resolution is not about countering free speech or intellectual thought; it
is about avoiding future disasters. One observer put it simply and powerfully
when he stated that “The black hole of forgetting is the negative force that
results in future genocides.”

A little over a month ago, people around the world marked International Human
Rights Week and renewed the solemn pledge of the Universal Declaration on Human
Rights, which was drafted in the wake of the atrocities of World War II.

We take note that this esteemed body adopted by consensus in 2005 a Resolution
unequivocally rejecting the denial of the Holocaust as an historical event. We
call upon all Member States to follow through on that and today’s Resolution to
include measures in their educational systems that underscore the importance of
never denying the Holocaust. As Kofi Annan remarked at the end of his tenure,
“some of the rhetoric used in connection with the issue implies a refusal to
concede the very legitimacy of Israel’s existence, let alone the validity of its
security concerns….Today, Israeli’s are often confronted with words and action
that seem to confirm their fear that the goal of their adversaries is to
extinguish their existence as a state, and as a people.”

Indeed, the words and actions of some, in direct violation of the UN Charter,
underscore why this Resolution is so important. Just last month, the Iranian
regime sponsored a conference questioning the historical fact of the atrocities
of the Holocaust. Iranian President Ahmadi-Nejad has also called for the state
of Israel to be “wiped off the map.” That same regime is under UN Security
Council sanctions right now to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons, in
direct violation of its obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
The confluence of these three forces cannot be viewed abstractly or in isolation
of each other. They create a cauldron of conflict that cannot be ignored.

Some will cloak their hatred and hidden agenda by invoking the right to free
speech and academic freedom. There is a categorical difference between free
speech and speech which willfully and maliciously ignores recognized historical
facts in order to advance an ulterior agenda. Conferences like those sponsored
by Iran are designed solely to polarize and incite hatred. If successful, they
can then use that hatred as a catalyst to justify genocide. It is also specious
to diminish the Holocaust by making false comparisons — as we heard earlier
this morning by some delegations. As Kofi Annan powerfully noted, “What was
done to Jews and others by the Nazis remains an undeniable tragedy, unique in
human history.”

The United States stands firmly opposed to any attempts to deny the Holocaust.
This Resolution reinforces that message and we encourage all Member States to
take concrete steps to make that message heard. To deny the events of the
Holocaust is tantamount to the approval of genocide in all its forms. Today we
stand together saying to the world that we will not allow that to happen.

————————–

Remarks by Ambassador Wolf After The Vote:

Reporter: What are your comments regarding the statement made by the Iranian
delegation, stating that this adoption of the resolution is a hypocritical
political exercise?

Ambassador Wolff: Well, as you heard from our statement — first of all, let me
say Iran is the only country, by disassociating from this consensus, that
rejected this consensus. It stands alone, in shame, isolated, against the rest
of the international community. I won’t comment any further in terms of who is
hypocritical and who deserves opprobrium.

Reporter: Ambassador, were you disappointed that there were so few members in
the General Assembly hall for this —

Ambassador Wolff: Yes, I was.

————————

The bottom line for us from all of this is that “Consensus” is a misnomer for what went on in the UNGA when it adopted the proposal to outlaw Holocaust denial – at least within the UN and its member states.

There was at least one Member State – Iran – that openly defied above proposition. There were 10 more countries that clearly showed their lack of enthusiasm. At least Saudi Arabia, out of this group, has a clear track record of not accepting the proposition. Both these countries use oil money to undermine the proposition in active ways.

Why do good people talk of a united UN, of “consensus” that does not exist, and by doing so create a make believe conditions that, dangerously, may actually, build up for new atrocities?

—————————

This is the official UNGA Press reporting to the press.

General Assembly
GA/10569

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York
Sixty-first General Assembly
Plenary
85th Meeting (AM)

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ADOPTS RESOLUTION CONDEMNING ANY DENIAL OF HOLOCAUST

United States Representative Says to Deny Events
Of Holocaust Tantamount to Approval of Genocide in All Its Forms

The General Assembly today adopted by consensus a resolution condemning, without reservation, any denial of the Holocaust, with the United States, among the text’s 103 sponsors, stressing that to deny the events of the Holocaust — one of the most tragic moral catastrophes in history — “was tantamount to approval of genocide in all its forms”.

Reaffirming its landmark resolution of 1 November 2005 rejecting efforts to deny the Holocaust based on the conviction that ignoring the historical fact of those terrible events increased the risk of their being repeated, the Assembly urged all Member States to unreservedly reject any denial of the Holocaust as a historical event, either in full or in part, or any activities towards that end. The United Nations has designated 27 January as the annual International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.

Saying that those who denied the Holocaust revealed their ignorance and moral failure, the United States representative commended the Assembly for asserting its moral authority and political will. He introduced and sponsored today’s text, not as a rhetorical exercise, but because of the implications of Holocaust denial. What the world was witnessing today in terms of such denial was “masking a more dangerous agenda”. As one observer had recently said, “the black hole of forgetting was the negative force that resulted in future genocides”.

Just last month, Iran had sponsored a conference questioning the historical fact of the Holocaust; its President had also called for the State of Israel to be wiped off the map. The Iranian regime was also under a Security Council resolution to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons. The confluence of those three forces created a “cauldron of conflict”, which could not be ignored, he said.

Israel’s representative said that the historic 2005 resolution on the Holocaust remembrance had reflected the Assembly’s understanding that the lessons of the Holocaust were universal; that speaking out and educating about the Nazis’ brutal and systematic murder of the Jewish people must focus world attention on the horror of genocide and compel all nations and people of goodwill to recommit their efforts to preventing such atrocities.

Regrettably, those lessons were being rejected and flaunted in certain parts of the world, he said. While the nations of the world gathered here to affirm the historicity of the Holocaust with the intent of never again allowing genocide, “a member of the Assembly was acquiring the capabilities to carry out its own”. The President of Iran was in fact saying, “‘There really was no Holocaust, but just in case, we shall finish the job!'”.

Placing on record his deep concern and rejection of what he saw as an attempt to misuse the General Assembly’s procedures, Iran’s representative said the resolution’s main sponsors had sought to present the text under “mischievous” intent to pursue narrow political interests and misuse the Assembly. The intent behind that move could by no means be regarded as genuine. If the thrust of the resolution was to condemn the crime of genocide, the Assembly, through a great number of resolutions, had already addressed that grave concern.

Iran, like many other countries, had condemned genocide against any race, group, or religion as a crime against humanity. He reiterated that unambiguous position today. However, the Israeli regime had manipulated the sufferings of the Jewish people as a cover for crimes committed against the Palestinians, including ethnic cleansing and State terrorism. The international community must not allow that regime to exploit past crimes as a pretext to commit new genocide and crimes.

At the start of the meeting, Assembly President Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa of Bahrain drew the Members’ attention to a letter of the Secretary-General (document A/61/709) addressed to the President informing the Assembly that 16 Member States were in arrears in the payment of their financial contributions to the United Nations under the terms of Article 19 of the Charter. She reminded delegations that Article 19 states that a Member in arrears shall have no vote in the Assembly if the amount of its arrears equals or exceeds the amount of the contributions due from it for the preceding two full years.

Also speaking in today’s meeting were the representatives of Egypt, Indonesia, Venezuela, Germany (on behalf of the European Union), Russian Federation, and Costa Rica.

The General Assembly will meet again at a time to be announced.

Introduction of Draft Resolution

Introducing the draft resolution (document A/61/L.53), ALEJANDRO DANIEL WOLFF ( United States) said that, since the text’s original submission, several more delegations had joined as co-sponsors, bringing the total to 103. On their behalf, and in preparation for Monday’s observance of the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, it was crucial for the General Assembly to declare, unambiguously and forcefully, its condemnation, without reservation, of any denial of the Holocaust.

He said that the draft resolution before the Assembly built on the strong foundation of resolution A/60/7 of 2005 in making clear that all people and all States had a vital stake in a world free of genocide. The terrible events of the Holocaust had been deeply disturbing and would always remain so. That had been one of the most tragic moral catastrophes in all history, and humankind must remember to ensure that such events were never repeated. Those who denied the Holocaust revealed their ignorance and moral failure.

The draft resolution urged all Member States to reject any denials of the Holocaust as a historical event, either in full or in part, or any related activities. By so doing, the Assembly had asserted its moral authority and its political will, under the United Nations Charter, to save succeeding generations — which was indeed the Organization’s legacy, as it had been founded in that event’s aftermath. He offered the draft resolution for adoption and hoped that all would join consensus so that the United Nations might speak as one on that vital issue.

Speaking before the vote, HOSSEIN GHARIBI (Iran) said he wished to place on record his delegation’s deep concern and rejection of the attempt being made by certain members to misuse the Assembly’s procedures to raise an issue not on the agenda of the sixty-first session and of no relevance to the items on which the resolution had supposedly been tabled. He had every reason to believe that today’s attempt was both procedurally and substantively flawed. The intent behind that move could by no means be regarded as genuine. Its main sponsors had sought to present the text under “mischievous” intent to pursue narrow political interests and misuse the Assembly.

He said that, if the thrust of the resolution was to condemn the crime of genocide, the Assembly, through a great number of resolutions, had already addressed that grave concern. Iran, like many other countries, had condemned genocide against any race, group, or religion as a crime against humanity. He reiterated that unambiguous position today. There was no justice or any justification for the attempts made by some, particularly the Israeli regime, to exploit past crimes as a pretext to commit new genocide and crimes.

Many new such cases necessitated a thorough and comprehensive examination by the international community, in order to prevent their recurrence in the future, he said. Imposing a restrictive approach to such an examination would not serve that purpose; only an objective examination of what had happened could ensure that such crimes were never again repeated. Addressing the enormity of historical crimes should be done with a view to avoiding their recurrence. That required rigorous scrutiny. The necessary seriousness and sincerity of that endeavour would be undermined by political judgement and closing the door on scope and extent of such crimes.

He said that the basic principles of democracy, including the right to freedom of expression and belief, should pave the way to explore different aspects of history without arbitrary restrictions. Genocide and aspects associated with that horrific crime should not be manipulated. Regrettably, the Israeli regime had manipulated the sufferings of the Jewish people as a cover for crimes committed against the Palestinians, including ethnic cleansing and State terrorism. The international community should take strong action against such atrocious crimes and allow humanitarian sentiment to pursue its legitimate goals.

The main aims behind submitting today’s resolution were anything but about genocide and the suffering that wrought, he said. The main sponsors otherwise would have referred to other cases of genocide, past and present, especially in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Palestine, and the Balkans, where enormous suffering had occurred. In view of the above, he fully dissociated himself from today’s entire hypocritical exercise.

Action on Text

Then, the General Assembly adopted the resolution on the Holocaust denial (document A/61/L.53) without a vote.

Explanations of Position

Explaining his position after the vote, MAGED A. ABDELAZIZ ( Egypt) said he had joined consensus on the text, stressing once again his strong belief that the Holocaust should be remembered as one of the dark points in the history of humanity. He thanked the co-sponsors, particularly the European countries, for keeping that memory alive and for working to correct those mistakes. Adoption of the resolution today under agenda item 44, “culture of peace”, could serve as a sobering reminder that preventing the recurrence of such heinous crimes could only be through the international community’s intensive efforts to enhance and revitalize the culture of peace, tolerance, co-existence, recognition and prevention of the suffering of others, regardless of religion, ethnicity or belief.

He said that the United Nations had a particular responsibility in that regard to promote ethnic dialogue among civilizations, cultures and regions, and to do what it could to prevent the recurrence of such crimes in all parts of the world. The painful memories of the Holocaust should also serve as a repugnant reminder of the need to combat racism, intolerance and xenophobia in all its forms, and serve as a lesson that appeasing intolerant ideologies would cost humanity dearly. The international community should not remain complacent in combating the xenophobic tide growing in many parts of the world, he warned.

ADIYATWIDI ADIWOSO ASMADY ( Indonesia) said that, for more than 50 years, the world had struggled with the implications for the relationship among peoples. While there could be no forgetting its lessons, the Holocaust was hardly the only human tragedy to offer such lessons. Modern history was replete with incidents in which millions of people had been eliminated in the most heartless way.

She said the highest tribute that could be paid to the victims of the Holocaust and other victims was to prevent the recurrence of such atrocities and to stop them in their tracks wherever they might erupt. However, the question of standards of morality and freedom of expression posed certain challenges. Cartoons purporting to depict the Prophet Mohammed had created tensions among different peoples of the world. There was a need for mutual respect and freedom of expression must be expressed within certain parameters. There must also be respect for differences, especially those relating to culture and religion.

MARCO PALAVIANA (Venezuela), also speaking after the vote, said that, while millions of human beings had been victims of the Holocaust during the Second World War, the resolution should also cover the deaths of those killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as the Palestinian people, who were the victims of excesses perpetrated under the pretext of self-defence and security, as had occurred in November 2006 at Beit Hanoun in the Gaza Strip. The horrors of the past were the best reason to demand respect for international law, international humanitarian law and human rights. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were being victimized by actions carried out in the name of democracy by the United States. The resolution should cover the entire scope of victims and find an appropriate balance.

General Assembly President SHEIKHA HAYA RASHED AL KHALIFA of Bahrain said that, by its action today, the Assembly had reaffirmed its condemnation of the Holocaust as a crime against humanity, and issued a strong reminder that the international community was united in opposing all crimes against humanity. For the dignity of all humanity, Member States must strengthen their resolve to prevent such atrocities whenever and wherever they might occur. Quoting Edmund Burke, she said: “All that is needed for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

Also explaining his position, DAN GILLERMAN ( Israel) said that adoption of the resolution on Holocaust remembrance more than a year ago (document A/60/7) had been a historic milestone for the Assembly and for the United Nations, and an important step in bolstering the founding principles of the world body. More so, the text on the Holocaust remembrance had reflected the understanding of the Assembly that the lessons of the Holocaust were universal; that speaking out and educating about the Nazis’ brutal and systematic murder of the Jewish people must focus world attention on the horror of genocide and compel all nations and people of goodwill to recommit their efforts to preventing such atrocities.

Regrettably, he said, lessons were being rejected and flaunted in certain parts of the world. While the nations of the world gathered today to voice in unison their collective commitment to condemning Holocaust denial — without reservation, in any and all forms — a member of the Assembly continued to deny that eternal truth. While the nations of the world gathered here to affirm the historicity of the Holocaust with the intent of never again allowing genocide, “a member of the Assembly was acquiring the capabilities to carry out its own”. The President of Iran was in fact saying, “‘There really was no Holocaust, but just in case, we shall finish the job!'”.

It was against that backdrop that the draft resolution on Holocaust denial had been conceived, he went on. The international communities carried the profound responsibility of ensuring that the Holocaust and its lessons were never forgotten. The Holocaust served as a warning to all people of the profound dangers of hatred, bigotry, and racism. Joining the resolution was an affirmation that the Holocaust was “not up for question or debate”. Its lessons carried such universal weight that they could not be carried solely by the Jewish people. That was precisely why the nations of the world supported the resolution on the remembrance last year and were supporting the text on the denial this year — today’s text reminded those who viciously denied the Holocaust that they could not escape the truth of reality.

Speaking on behalf of the European Union, THOMAS MATUSSEK ( Germany) said he was aware that the unprecedented crime of the Holocaust had been committed by Germans in the name of their country, and that Germany’s very special responsibility stemmed from that. While the Holocaust had taken place in Europe, its significance reached beyond that continent, and it was unprecedented in human history. Therefore, every 27 January the General Assembly and many Member States commemorated the liberation of the Nazi death camps, honouring the memory of the victims of the Holocaust -– millions of Jews, as well as other groups like the Sinti and Roma people, persons with disabilities and those persecuted because of their sexual orientation.

In 2005, the General Assembly had created the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, he said. That consensus decision was proof of the resolve expressed by each Member State not to let the Holocaust fall into oblivion or be ignored. The Commemoration must be a defining part of humanity’s common heritage and a measure of each State’s commitment to a world free from genocide. The international community must understand the responsibility imposed by the victims of the Holocaust. Especially today, when ever fewer survivors could pass on their own personal experience of the Holocaust, it was vital to find new ways to keep alive the memory of those terrible crimes for future generations.

Commemoration of the Holocaust reaffirmed the responsibility to combat anti-Semitism, racism and any form of political, ethnic or religious intolerance, he said. While anti-Semitism had been the central historical context of the Holocaust, racism, intolerance and hatred might again generate atrocities and genocidal crimes. It was the duty of every member of the global community to prevent that. But the first and foremost prerequisite for taking up that duty was the readiness to face the truth, the resolve neither to evade the truth nor to distort historical facts. Such distortions were a shameful failure of the common responsibility to ensure a world free from such atrocities.

VITALY I. CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said that the memory of the monstrous crimes of Nazism was still alive today. No one had the right to forget that tragedy, and it must be remembered in order to avoid its possible repetition. Furthermore, no one could remain indifferent to religious intolerance, racism and xenophobia. The Holocaust was not only a tragedy for Europeans, but for humanity as a whole. The adopted resolution contained an appeal to all Member States to condemn, not only the fact of the denial of the Holocaust as a historical event, but any act that sought to achieve that aim. That meant that Member States were bound to include in that condemnation attempts to revise the history of the Second World War and the merits of those who took up arms to fight the Nazis. Any attempt to make heroic the henchmen of fascism must be rejected.

Noting that the United Nations had declared 27 January the International Day of Commemoration, he recalled that that had been the date when the Red Army had freed the Auschwitz death camp, one of the largest. The memory of the heroism of the Soviet soldiers and the many millions of victims in his country could never reconcile itself with those of “opportunistic political interest” who sought to distort the significance of that history. He honoured as sacred the memory of the 6 million Jews and Europeans, half of whom had been citizens of the Soviet Union. Thus, he welcomed the adoption of the resolution and had co-sponsored it.

Expressing his strong support for the resolution, which condemned without reservation any denial of the Holocaust, Mr. WOLFF ( United States) said that the Assembly should be proud of its adoption by consensus. It was shameful that one country had decided to reject it. Tomorrow would be the sixty-second anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp where more than 1 million people had been murdered. That served as a powerful symbol of what could happen when tyranny and oppression went unchecked. As the world mourned those who lost their lives there, it must reassert its commitment to human rights, which had been desecrated at Auschwitz and at genocides and atrocities since then.

He said that the United States had introduced and sponsored today’s important text, not as a rhetorical exercise, but because of the implications of Holocaust denial in the world today. Some experts on the topic had said that every genocide was followed by denial. Despite the undeniable truth of the Holocaust, the world was now witnessing that some so-called scholars and world leaders were attempting to revise world history, “masking a more dangerous agenda”. The resolution was not about countering free speech or intellectual thought; it was about avoiding future disasters. As one observer recently said, the black hole of forgetting was the negative force that resulted in future genocides.

Just last month, Iran had sponsored a conference questioning the historical fact of the Holocaust; its President had also called for the State of Israel to be wiped off the map, he said. The Iranian regime was under a Security Council resolution to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons. Those three forces could not be viewed in isolation from each other; the confluence of those forces created a “cauldron of conflict”, which could not be ignored. Some would cloak their hatred by invoking the right to free speech, but there was a categorical difference between free speech and that which ignored historical facts in order to advance an ulterior agenda. Such conferences were designed solely to polarize and design hatred. If successful, that hatred could be used to justify genocide.

“To deny the events of the Holocaust was tantamount to approval of genocide in all its forms,” he said. The United States stood together with all the world in saying it would not allow that to happen.

SAUL WEISLEDER ( Costa Rica) expressed support for the statement by the Egyptian delegate, saying it was to be hoped that the resolution would ensure there were no more holocausts.

————-

26 January 2007

unlogo_blue_sml_en.jpg

Secretary-General
SG/SM/10855

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York
SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES ADOPTION OF GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION,

SAYS DENIAL OF HISTORICAL FACTS, SUCH AS HOLOCAUST, UNACCEPTABLE

The following statement was issued today by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

The Secretary-General welcomes the adoption by the General Assembly today of a resolution unequivocally condemning any denial of the Holocaust. This reflects the prevailing view of the international community. The Secretary-General reiterates his conviction that the denial of historical facts such as the Holocaust is unacceptable. He expresses his strong desire to see this fundamental principle respected both in rhetoric and in practice.

—————–

From the UN News Center:

UN Assembly condemns Holocaust denial by consensus; Iran disassociates itself – (26 January 2007)

The United Nations General Assembly today condemned without reservation any denial of the Holocaust, with only Iran publicly disassociating itself from the consensus resolution which was immediately hailed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
The Assembly, noting that the resolution was adopted on the eve of the UN-designated annual International Day of Commemoration for Holocaust victims, who also included not only Jews but also Roma, Sinti, homosexuals and other groups, called on all its 192 Member States “unreservedly to reject any denial of the Holocaust as a historical event, either in full or in part, or any activities to this end.”
Welcoming the measure, which was introduced by the United States on behalf of 103 co-sponsors, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement voicing “his strong desire to see this fundamental principle respected both in rhetoric and in practice.”
“By this action today, the General Assembly reaffirms its condemnation of the Holocaust as a crime against humanity,” said the body’s president, Sheikha Haya Al Khalifa of Bahrain.
“This is a strong reminder to all that the international community is united in opposing all crimes against humanity,” she said. “For the dignity of all humanity, we must strengthen our resolve to prevent such atrocities, whenever and wherever they might occur.”
Introducing the resolution, acting US Permanent Representative Alejandro D. Wolff said it made clear that all people and all States have a vital stake in a world free of genocide.
“We remember it [the Holocaust], indeed we must remember it, to ensure that such events are never repeated,” he stressed. “Those who would deny the Holocaust – and, sadly, there are some who do – reveal not only their ignorance but their moral failure as well.”
Iranian representative Hossein Gharibi, while reiterating his country’s “unambiguous” condemnation of genocide against any race, dismissed the resolution as a manipulation to deflect attention from Israel’s “atrocious” crimes and said it should have included other cases of genocide such as Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where the US dropped atomic bombs, Palestine, Rwanda and the Balkans.
“In view of the above we truly disassociate ourselves from this entire hypocritical political exercise,” he declared.
Israeli Ambassador Dan Gillerman said the lessons of the Holocaust are universal, compelling all nations to recommit to preventing the horrors of genocide. “While the nations of the world gather here to affirm the historicity of the Holocaust with the intent of never again allowing genocide, a Member of this Assembly is acquiring the capabilities to carry out its own,” he added.
“The President of Iran is in fact saying: ‘There really was no Holocaust, but just in case, we shall finish the job.'”
Speaking on behalf of the European Union (EU), German Ambassador Thomas Matussek said distortions of historical facts “are a shameful failure of the responsibility we all share to ensure a world free from such atrocities.”
Speaking in the name of his country, he noted that the “unprecedented crime of the Holocaust was committed by Germans and in the name of Germany, and from that stems our very special responsibility.”
The UN marks Holocaust Commemoration Day annually on 27 January but because it falls on a Saturday this year, it will be observed on Monday 29 January. In a message prepared for the occasion, Mr. Ban calls the Holocaust “a unique and undeniable tragedy.” The remembrance “is an essential response to those misguided individuals who claim that the Holocaust never happened, or has been exaggerated,” he adds.
Tomorrow, a month-long exhibition will open in the General Assembly Visitors’ Lobby, displaying both the plight of the Roma and Sinti minorities in Central and Eastern Europe and paintings and sculptures by four Holocaust survivors – Joseph Bau (deceased), Henny Trompetter Zwecher de Brito, David Friedman (deceased) and Hanka Kornfeld-Marder.
Last month, on the day he was sworn in as the next UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban was asked about Iran’s conference on the scale and nature of the slaughter of 6 million Jews. “Denying historical facts, especially on such an important subject as the Holocaust, is just not acceptable,” he replied. “Nor is it acceptable to call for the elimination of any State or people.”
In 2005, both then-Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the Security Council condemned reported remarks by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calling for Israel to be wiped off the map.

###