Vienna, 27 January 2012 Press release

Spindelegger: There can be no relativisation of human rights standards

Austrian Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger on International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Vienna, 27 January 2012 – “We must see the Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp, a symbol of the inconceivable crimes of National Socialism, as a constant warning of where racism and intolerance could ultimately lead to. By remembering the victims we are also called upon to advocate with resolve human rights, democracy and the rule of law”, Austrian Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said on the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Spindelegger called to mind that there is a tendency for racist and undemocratic movements to emerge in times of economic insecurity. “A crisis must, however, never be a pretext for relativising human rights standards. It is the shared task of policy-makers and civil society to draw distinct lines here. Democracy and human rights are unique goods that are to be defended. With this in mind, Austria as a member of the UNO Human Rights Council supports the rule of law, the rights of the child and the protection of minorities”, the Foreign Minister said.

Austria is also active in other forums, such as the International Holocaust Task Force. Under the amendment of the National Funds Act that came into force on 01 January this year, Austria is providing 6 million euros for the maintenance of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial, and thus contributes its share to preserving one of the central international memorials commemorating the atrocities of the Shoah.

Federal Ministry for
European and International Affairs
Press Department
Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3262, 4549, 4550
Fax: ++43 (0) 50 1159-213