Remarks by Mr. Miguel Moratinos
The High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations
At the Joint UNAOC EU Meeting:
“Briefing on Efforts on Combating Antisemitism”
ECOSOC Chamber – June 15, 2022
Thank you, Katharina (Von Schnurbein, European Commission Coordinator on Combating Antisemitism and Fostering Jewish Life). I once again congratulate you and your team for this valuable document. I see there are many elements and recommendations in which UNAOC and other relevant UN entities can collaborate together in its implementation across the 3 pillars of the strategy. A few of the recommendations included in the strategy are already being implemented but perhaps not as consistently or at the scale aspired for.
I was very pleased to see that the strategy includes in 2.1 Combating violent extremism and terrorism targeted against Jews which points out to the protection of public spaces including places of worship, especially with the disturbing surge in attacks against places of worship. This is in line with the UN Plan of Action to Safeguard Religious Sites developed by UNAOC and launched by the Secretary-General in 2019. We can work together in enhancing cooperation between public authorities and faith-based organizations, to increase community engagement and resilience through trust-building activities.
Meanwhile, I wish to briefly highlight what we have been doing and my recommendations :
Over the past year, I have engaged with major Jewish organizations, relevant UN entities including the special rapporteur on freedom of religion and belief and the EC Coordinator on Combatting antisemitism as well as other appointed coordinators on antisemitism representing European governments.
My office has been vocal in rejecting and condemning all forms of antisemitic incidents, issuing statements in a timely fashion.
Obviously, the pandemic has disrupted many activities, but since we started returning to some sort of normalcy, I participated in person in numerous meetings relevant to the subject. In chronological order :
1. I just returned back from Morocco where UNAOC co-organized a 3-day event with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Morocco and Project Aladdin in Tangier titled “Tangier Dialogue”. The conversations were focused on Arab -West relations including relations between the Jews, Christians and Muslims. I had very fruitful discussions with Andre Azoulay and we agreed that I will visit ElSouira festival in its next editions.
2. This past April, I went to Jerusalem and participated in person in the meeting organized by the EC and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel and the World Jewish Congress on combating antisemitism. The meeting coincided with the Yom Shoah and the ceremony which took place on that occasion at Yad Vashem.
3. In October 2021, it was very useful to participate in person in the Malmo forum which provided a renewed momentum in the global fight against antisemitism.
I wish to highlight those recommended action points:
1. Reinforcing diversity as a richness not a threat. We must invest more in social cohesion through strengthening interreligious and intercultural dialogue.
2. Mainstreaming a zero-tolerance policy to antisemitism across the UN system. Learning historical facts and educating about the Holocaust is one way to go. The UN Outreach program is a valuable resource of testimonials by survivors of the Shoah. Expert-led Holocaust institutions are also another vital resource with whom we should work closely.
3. Mainstreaming combating antisemitism within the UN programmatic work starting with a social media campaign. Obviously, this needs resources and funding
4. Adopting a holistic approach by engaging other faiths in our efforts to combat antisemitism.
5. The support and encouragement of Member States are crucial to our efforts in combatting and defeating antisemitism. My office will continue to reach out to them to brief them on our efforts and recommendations.
6. Monitoring is key: enhancing monitoring of antisemitic incidents by creating a global observatory on antisemitic incidents to serve as a trusted resource for all data collected based on a human rights approach
7. Continue to speak out and to be vocal against antisemitic attacks whether it is in the form of hate speech or physical attacks on Jewish people and their sacred places or properties.
8. Continue to Strengthen collaboration and coordination with relevant UN entities including the Office of the Special Advisor on Genocide Prevention, the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, UNESCO and the UN treaty bodies and special procedures mandate holders.
9. Last but not least, we are working on finalizing an action plan or a document that would provide guidance towards a coordinated and enhanced response to antisemitism anchored in human rights.
10. Last, allocating funding resources is crucial.