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Archived - Canadian Chair Year of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Ends: Holocaust Awareness and the Fight Against Anti-Semitism Continue

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Ottawa, February 25, 2014 — The Canadian Chair Year of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) officially concluded today at a handover ceremony in Berlin. Dr. Mario Silva, Canadian Chair, formally passed the Chairmanship to the United Kingdom (UK) and Sir Andrew Burns, the UK's Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust issues.

Canada assumed the Chair of the IHRA in March 2013 and committed to an ambitious campaign to raise Holocaust awareness and fight anti-Semitism both in Canada and internationally. Throughout the past year, Canada maintained its status as a world leader in promoting Holocaust education, remembrance and research with key accomplishments highlighted in an inaugural annual report that includes:

  • achieving international consensus on a working definition of Holocaust denial and distortion;
  • hosting two international working meetings bringing together experts and policy makers;
  • funding the digitization of Holocaust survivor testimony; and
  • organizing numerous Holocaust remembrance, research and education events as well as initiatives such as:

Canada will continue to work closely with the IHRA as an active member country. Jason Kenney, Minister for Multiculturalism, has named Dr. Andrew Bennett, Canada's Ambassador for Religious Freedom, as Canada's new Head of Delegation to the IHRA where he will continue to promote Holocaust awareness and further the global fight against anti-Semitism.

Quick facts

  • Canada has been profoundly shaped by approximately 40,000 Holocaust survivors, who resettled across the country after World War II.
  • In 2011, Canada was the first country to sign the Ottawa Protocol on Combating Anti Semitism, an international action plan to help nations measure their progress in the fight against anti-Semitism.
  • Canada joined the IHRA in 2009 and was named Chair in March 2013.  
  • The IHRA is a consensus-based intergovernmental body of government officials and experts from 31 countries. Its mandate is to foster and promote Holocaust education, remembrance and research around the world.

Quotes

The IHRA brings political and social leaders together from around the world to help prevent future human rights abuses through Holocaust education, remembrance and research. I am proud of Canada's leadership on the world stage in the fight against anti-Semitism and I was honoured to have served as the Canadian Chair over this past year.
Dr. Mario Silva, Canadian Chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance

The Government of Canada is committed to supporting Holocaust remembrance and education across the country and internationally. Canada's goals going into our chair year were ambitious, and I'm proud of the significant progress we have made. The Holocaust stands alone in the annals of human evil and the work of organizations such as the IHRA is critical to ensuring that future generations learn the important lessons of this tragedy.
Jason Kenney, Minister for Multiculturalism

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