The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has strongly condemned the “Second International Holocaust Cartoon Contest”, which is taking place in Tehran.
“Such an initiative which aims at a mockery of the genocide of the Jewish people, a tragic page of humanity’s history, can only foster hatred and incite to violence, racism and anger.” declared Irina Bokova.
“This contest goes against the universal values of tolerance and respect, and runs counter to the action led by UNESCO to promote Holocaust education, to fight amti-Semitism and denial.” pursued the Director-General.
The organization of an “International Holocaust Cartoon Contest” also runs against the spirit of openness of the rich Persian Culture, and to the values that guided the Islamic Republic of Iran in its initiative for the 2010 International Year for the Rapprochement of Culture.
UNESCO Director-General has expressed its concerns to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran at the holding of such an initiative in a letter addressed to the Ambassador of the Republic Islamic of Iran to UNESCO on 13 February 2016.
Irina Bokova has repeatedly voiced UNESCO’s concern at the rise of new forms of anti-Semitism, drawing on distorted visions of culture and history, taking also the form of mockery or systematic delegitmization of the State of Israel. The Director-General reiterated the statements she made on Yom Ha Shoah on 5 may and on United Nations Holocaust Remembrance Day on 27 January : “We must redouble all efforts to teach young generations about the history of the Holocaust to combat all forms of anti-Semitism and denial today. We must join forces in teaching about the history of all culturesand all religions. We must encourage freedom of expression and promote cultural diversity, in a spirit of mutual respect for others and for human rights.”
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