Working Group and Committee Chair Statement on the Refugee Crisis

9 September, 2015. In response to the extraordinary nature of the current refugee crisis, we, the Chairs of the Working Groups and Committees of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), issue the following statement:

As expert delegates of the IHRA, we are profoundly concerned about the plight of the refugees fleeing war-torn countries. The circumstances surrounding the current refugee situation are notably different from the persecution of Jews and other victims before, during and after the Holocaust; nonetheless, there are parallels between the treatment of refugees then and now – particularly regarding the shameful closing of borders, the rise of xenophobia, and the use of dehumanising language.

In light of the gravity of the situation, we call upon the international community to show initiative and take action to uphold the basic standards of human rights, as formulated in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and succeeding declarations, so that people can be given dignified sanctuary. We call upon the international community to fulfill its obligations undertaken as signatories to these commitments.

Furthermore, we call upon leaders to draw appropriate lessons from the past so that we may affirm the principles of the Stockholm Declaration to “strengthen the moral commitment of our peoples, and the political commitment of our governments, to ensure that future generations can understand the causes of the Holocaust and reflect upon its consequences.”

IHRA experts also commit themselves to this critical issue by exploring in greater detail the situation of refugees in the past and present so that wider society can better understand the circumstances behind the refugees’ plight.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) is an intergovernmental body whose purpose is to place political and social leaders’ support behind the need for Holocaust education, remembrance and research both nationally and internationally. The IHRA is unique in bringing together policy-makers from governments and experts on the topic of the Holocaust – academics, educators and representatives of museums and memorials.

Brigitte Bailer – Academic Working Group
Yasmina Amire – Communication Working Group
Alex Maws – Education Working Group
Nina Krieger – Memorial and Museums Working Group
Mark Weitzman – Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial
Karen Polak – Committee on the Genocide of the Roma
Annemiek Gringold – Committee on the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes against Humanity