I thank the PGA for convening this event, particularly as we are approaching the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust on 27 January.
The recent episodes of terrorist violence underscore the need to strengthen international opposition to every form of racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and intolerance, and at the same time to foster the protection of fundamental rights such as freedom of association and opinion.
We must clearly and unanimously condemn every act of anti-Semitism and its ideological roots. But we must also wage a cultural battle against all intolerance to foster respect for religious identity and reduce the risk of violence and the radicalization of identity. The Italian Government has long made this battle a priority.
Italy supports multilateral initiatives against anti-Semitism (most recently, by helping to organize an event commemorating the tenth anniversary of the OSCE Declaration on Anti-Semitism, which took place in Berlin on 13 November 2014). We support and actively participate in the International Task Force on Holocaust, Education, Remembrance and Research, which grew out of the Stockholm Declaration of January 2000.
More recently, Italy promoted the European Symposium on Shoah Education, which took place in Rome on 15 December 2014 for the purpose of creating a European network of teachers and experts to exchange experiences, information and ideas on strengthening and promoting the memory of the Holocaust in Europe. A vaccination for inoculating the younger generations, with an eye on the future.
It is in this spirit that, even before the United Nations established 27 January as the Day of Memory in 2005, Italy had enshrined in its domestic legislation the goal of fostering remembrance of the Shoah, the racial laws, the Italian persecution of Jewish citizens, the Italian victims, and people who in diverse camps and alliances opposed the Nazi extermination project at the risk of their own lives, saved lives, and protected the persecuted.
With an eye on the present and the future, we need to strengthen our commitment. And with an eye on the past, we must keep alive the memory of the dark and tragic period of the Holocaust and of other ruthless manifestations of racism and intolerance in all the regions of the world, to assure that similar events can never happen again.