The President of the United Nations General Assembly has said that all people share a capacity for cruelty to each other. 

A ceremony was held at UN headquarters in New York yesterday marking Holocaust Memorial Day.

In 2005 the General Assembly adopted its resolution on Holocaust Remembrance.

Assembly President Miguel d’Escoto said:

“We need to move beyond our statements of grief and memory, however powerfully felt, and work to develop new ways of thinking about the Holocaust, about genocide, about the apparently bottomless capacity for peoples’ cruelty to each other.

“Let us go beyond remembrance and work together for more victories over racism, ethnic and religious intolerance and anti-Semitism.

“This work begins with us – in our families, our communities, at the national and the global levels.

“Let us remember and learn about the crimes of the past in order to prevent them today and in the future.

“At their core, all genocides, all holocausts, start with the alienation, demonisation and the marginalisation of the ‘Other’ – those citizens of another religion, another race, ethnicity, another set of political ideas, or another sexual orientation than our own.”

Under the Nazis an estimated 100,000 men were arrested for homosexuality.

Between 5,000 and 15,000 were interned in concentration camps. It is not known how many survived.

Last month the UN General Assembly heard a statement on the universal human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people.

It affirmed the principle of universality: that all human beings, irrespective of their sexual orientation or gender identity, are entitled to equal dignity and respect.

No-one should be subject to violence, harassment, discrimination or abuse, solely because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

66 nations signed the joint statement, among them all 27 EU member states.

South Africa and the United States of America did not support the initiative.

Nearly 60 nations backed a counter-statement read by Syria that claimed the gay rights “threatened to undermine the international framework of human rights by trying to normalise pedophilia, among other acts.”