Minister Kenney Marks Achievements of Canada's First Plenary Session as Chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance

Berlin, June 14, 2013 — The multi-year work plan that Canada presented at this year’s first plenary session of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance was successfully advanced by Alliance members, announced Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism. The session was led by the Alliance’s Canadian Chair, Dr. Mario Silva.

“The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that the lessons of the Holocaust are not forgotten,” said Minister Kenney. “It is essential that the international community work together to advance Holocaust education, remembrance, and research to help combat anti-Semitism and prevent future acts of genocide. Canadians are proud to lead such efforts, in the international arena, over the next year.”

Between June 11-14, Canada chaired the first of two annual meetings held in Berlin, and which included special guests from countries including Ukraine, Uruguay and South Africa in an effort to raise awareness of the Alliance and increase membership.

The meetings included discussions on the multi-year work plan which will:

  • focus on research into Holocaust killing sites that lie outside of major death camps;
  • improve access to Holocaust-era archival records;
  • research approaches to Holocaust education;
  • implement best practices in organized Holocaust Memorial Days.

Special sessions focused on efforts to:

  • combat anti-Semitism;
  • improve the efficiency of IHRA expert working groups; and
  • increase cooperation with international organizations, such as the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

“Alliance member states are committed to using the Holocaust as context to fight all forms of hatred, intolerance and discrimination, including anti-Semitism, and to promote human rights around the world,” said Dr. Silva. “A strong commitment from both government officials and Holocaust experts was evident here in Berlin, which makes me optimistic about what we can achieve this coming year.”

Notable decisions at the plenary session included the approval of a Holocaust education project, and annual reporting on current issues related to anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial, and research into the persecution of Roma during the Holocaust. Furthermore, discussions were held – in advance of the October 2013 conference in Toronto – regarding the definition of Holocaust denial, candidacy for IHRA membership, and the IHRA Grants Program.

Canada joined the Alliance in 2009 and was named Chair in March 2013. Canada will chair the Alliance until March 2014.

The IHRA is a consensus-based intergovernmental body comprised of government officials and experts from 31 countries. Its mandate is to promote Holocaust education, remembrance and research around the world.

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Photographs from the plenary session:

Canadian Chair, Dr. Mario Silva, at Canada’s First Plenary Session as Chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. – June 14, 2013

Canadian Chair, Dr. Mario Silva, at Canada’s First Plenary Session as Chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. – June 14, 2013

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For further information (media only), please contact:

Alexis Pavlich
Minister’s Office
Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Media Relations
Communications Branch
Citizenship and Immigration Canada

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