Living in the Shadow of the Holocaust
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein
February 5, 2015
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein delivered a major public policy address at the Museum on the connection between human rights and atrocity prevention. Drawing upon the lessons of the Holocaust, he called for leadership across the globe that defends and promotes human rights and for a new and deeper form of education that would instill in children the values of equality, justice, and respect.
“Human rights are the only meaningful rampart against barbarity,” he said. “Essentially, if I may boil down a massive topic into one sentence, states must be willing to protect the human rights of their people, and people must be able to hold the State responsible.”
Zeid became High Commissioner in September 2014, following his tenure as Jordan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York. He was the first president of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and served as a political affairs officer in the UN Protection Force in the former Yugoslavia. Throughout his career, he has prioritized peace-building and accountability for human rights violations.
Zeid was introduced at the event by Cameron Hudson, director of the Museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, and Margit Messner, a Holocaust survivor and Museum volunteer. “I feel honored that I have been asked to speak at this very special and important occasion....” Margit said. “The Museum is one of the few institutions that is trying to link what we learned from the research of the World War II Holocaust to actions that would prevent the murder and dislocations of the millions who are suffering today.”