Romania is making significant efforts to become a true regional model in terms of taking responsibility for its past and promoting the Holocaust remembrance, Romania’s Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu said at a ministerial meeting in Brussels on Sunday of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) organised by the Luxembourg presidency of the organisation.
Aurescu is quoted in a press statement released by the Foreign Ministry (MAE) as underscoring in his opening remarks to the meeting the importance of the organisation’s activity in the current international context, marked by a worrying increase in anti-Semitism and intolerance. The head of the Romanian diplomacy expressed Romania’s unwavering support for the meeting passing a ministerial declaration to reaffirm the principles of the Stockholm Declaration, the founding document of the IHRA of 2000.
“Twenty years after the adoption of the Stockholm Declaration, we are witnessing, with deep regret, an unprecedented increase in anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial in our societies. We therefore have a responsibility to act to ensure a climate of respect, tolerance and diversity for the Jewish communities in our countries. Romania is making important efforts to become a true regional model in terms of taking responsibility for its past and promoting Holocaust remembrance. At the same time, under the recent Romanian presidency of the EU Council, we promoted as a priority the fight against anti-Semitism. We hope that other EU Council presidents will follow suit,” said Aurescu.
At the meeting, Aurescu “also referenced a successful mandate of the Romanian Presidency-in-Office of IHRA, between March 2016 – March 2017, which focused on three priorities: strengthening Holocaust education, encouraging academic research and combating anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia and discrimination”. In this context, Aurescu mentioned the personality of diplomat Mihnea Constantinescu, who coordinated the programme of the Romanian IHRA presidency, paying tribute to his memory.
“Minister Bogdan Aurescu also presented the concrete steps recently taken by Romania in terms of taking responsibility for its past, Holocaust education and research and remembering the victims of the Holocaust, including the introduction in the Romanian legislation of the working definition of anti-Semitism, as agreed upon under the Romanian presidency of IHRA, reconfirming Romania’s continuous commitment in these areas.”
Founded in 1998 and based in Berlin, this organisation has 31 member states, 11 observatory states and 7 permanent international partners and acts to consolidate Holocaust remembrance, research and education worldwide. Romania held the rotating presidency of this organisation between March 2016 and March 2017.
Romania has a “continuous commitment” to combat anti-Semitism, xenophobia and intolerance
Minister of Foreign Affairs Bogdan Aurescu reiterated Romania’s continuous commitment to combat anti-Semitism, xenophobia and intolerance at his meeting in Brussels with a delegation led by Cherrie Daniels, the Special Envoy of the US State Department for Holocaust Issues, informs the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) in a press release.
The meeting took place on Sunday, on the sidelines of the ministerial meeting of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). Participating in the meeting were also Gideon Taylor, chair of operations and treasurer at the World Jewish Restitution Organisation (WJRO), and Wesley Fisher, director of research at the Claims Conference and the World Jewish Restitution Organization.
The head of the Romanian diplomacy presented the legislative measures that have been taken recently by our country in accelerating the process of restitution of the Jewish properties abusively seized by the communist regime, the increase of the value of the financial aid granted to the survivors of the Holocaust and reconfirmed the Romanian Government’s commitment to these issues.
In his turn, the Special Envoy of the US State Department hailed the coming into force of the law on the setting up of the National Museum of Jewish History and Holocaust in Romania, said the same source.