Combatting Antisemitism – Remarks at the 46th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

EUSR Gilmore remarks

UN Human Rights Council 46th Session – High-Level Side Event:

Combatting Antisemitism to Advance Human Rights for All


On behalf of the European Union, I want to thank Canada and the World Jewish Congress for organising this very timely event.  Around the world today, we are still witnessing discrimination, persecution and violence against individuals based on their religion or belief, race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, language, or social origin. We are also seeing increasing anti-Semitic attacks, including in Europe.  Covid-19 has aggravated these trends, including on social media.


In recent years, we have even seen outrageous attempts to delegitimise history with Holocaust Denial contests. This is insulting to the memory of the millions of people who died in the Holocaust.  Just last month, both High Representative Borrell and President Von Der Leyen issued statements on international Holocaust Remembrance Day, paying tribute to the victims of the Holocaust.  And we are committed, to fulfil our collective responsibility to ensure that “Never Again” are actions not just words.


To strengthen that action, the European Commission will present a comprehensive EU strategy on combating antisemitism this year. This strategy will complement and support national strategies and actions of Member States against antisemitism. Antisemitism needs a holistic response where the European, national and local levels work hand in hand and where the fight against antisemitism is mainstreamed across policy areas.


The European Union recently adopted its new external Action Plan for Human Rights and Democracy for the next 5 years.  As the Action Plan makes clear, we are committed to use all our external policy and financial tools to combat all forms of racism and discrimination, as well as to promote the exchange of best practices and lessons learnt with partner countries.


We are aware that to fight anti-Semitism and all forms of discrimination we need to work together.  Multilateral action is vital. The EU will continue to work with all UN member states within the UN fora, including UN agencies, to combat discrimination and violent extremism, to promote freedom of religion or belief and to protect historic and religious sites.


The EU will also continue to strongly support the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of religion or belief. His report last year on antisemitism and his latest report on anti-Muslim hatred have essential recommendations for States.


We will also continue to fund education programmes that promote tolerance and human rights education.  Education is essential to foster human rights and to counter the roots of hatred and discrimination.


History has taught us that when the rights of one person come under attack, we are all vulnerable and when one community or group is denigrated or discriminated against, it diminishes us all.  Combating religious intolerance and discrimination must always be part of a broader effort to promote human rights and to safeguard their universality, indivisibility and interdependence.


Thank you