About IHRA working definitions and charters 

The issues that fall under the IHRA’s mandate are complex and represent common challenges that do not stop at national borders. In order to sufficiently address issues related to the Holocaust and the genocide of the Roma, international cooperation among experts, civil society and governments is necessary. Working definitions and charters, important practical educational tools that help raise awareness of key issues related to the Holocaust and the genocide of Roma, help facilitate and guide this work in the IHRA.  

Our working definitions and charters, listed below, are available in multiple languages. While we try to ensure the accuracy of all of our translations, in the event of any discrepancies the English translation takes precedence.

Developing a shared understanding of key issues 

The drafting process behind the IHRA’s working definitions and charters allows for the expertise of 35 Member Countries to be made accessible to policymakers. The process begins with IHRA experts drafting the working definition or charter in consultation with members of civil society. This process takes years and is usually spearheaded by one of the IHRA’s Working Groups or Committees. For example, the IHRA working definition of Holocaust denial and distortion was drafted by the experts in the Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial.  

Throughout this process, the experts update their Heads of Delegation on progress. The texts are then presented to the Heads of Delegation of IHRA Member Countries for approval, usually at one of the IHRA’s biannual Plenary Sessions, where further final amendments may be made. All IHRA decisions are non-legally binding and taken by consensus.  

Raising awareness of key issues 

Working definitions serve as practical educational tools. They can be used to sensitize individuals, organizations, and policymakers to issues like Holocaust denial and distortion, antisemitism, and antigypsyism/anti-Roma discrimination. They help raise awareness of how these issues may, taking into account the overall context, manifest themselves. This helps ensure that broad swathes of society are included in the discussions on how to address these persistent problems. 

Plenary Session during the Romanian Presidency in 2016. IHRA

International Memorial Museums Charter (2012)

An important tool for safeguarding the memory of the Holocaust, the International Memorial Museums Charter helps memorials and museums avoid politicizing the history of the Holocaust and its lessons.