Canada joins Holocaust task force
The Ottawa Sun
Thu 19 Jun 2008
Byline: BY AP
Dateline: LINZ, AUSTRIA
Canada is set to become a member of an international task force dedicated to keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive.
The Task Force for International Co-operation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research announced at meetings in Austria yesterday that Canada was being given liaison country status in the body.
That is seen as an intermediary step to full membership next year in the 25-country organization that includes Israel, U.S., Austria and Germany.
The task force was started in 1998 to co-ordinate national and international efforts to encourage political and social leaders to support Holocaust education, remembrance and research.
Jason Kenney, secretary of state for multiculturalism, describes the task force as a critically important educational and human rights platform.
"Canada is a champion of human dignity and we think it is critically important to be engaged in efforts to educate future generations about the Holocaust," he said yesterday.
Canada’s move toward full membership was lauded by the U.S., one of the task force’s founding members.
"This is a very positive event, we’re delighted Canada is joining and we want to work with them on their projects," said Ambassador J. Christian Kennedy, the U.S. state department’s special envoy for Holocaust issues.
"We welcome this government’s policy in joining the international community in dealing with this issue," said Mark Weitzman of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in New York
The task force is open to all countries committed to the declaration of the 2000 Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust.
Among other things, the declaration states the Holocaust fundamentally challenged the foundations of civilization and that its magnitude must forever be seared in collective memory. Applying for membership is a multi-step process.
Among other things, it promotes teaching about Nazi atrocities at all education levels and encourages the opening of Holocaust-related archives. It also contributes to the funding of projects.
The United Nations, the Council of Europe and the Organization for the Security and Co-operation in Europe are permanent observers.
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