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President Tsai delivers remarks at International Holocaust Remembrance Day event  
President Tsai delivers remarks at International Holocaust Remembrance Day event  
2021-03-25

On the afternoon of March 25, President Tsai Ing-wen attended an International Holocaust Remembrance Day event, and delivered remarks in which she said that the scars of the Holocaust remind each of us of our responsibility to ensure such a tragedy never happens again. The president emphasized that we in Taiwan are determined to face up to our past, and are working to promote transitional justice, democratic principles, and human rights. The president concluded by saying that Taiwan will continue to be a force for good and a strong advocate for freedom and democracy while collaborating with the international community to realize a better, more inclusive, and peaceful future.

A transcript of the president's remarks follows:
I want to start by thanking the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei, the German Institute Taipei, and the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy for co-organizing this important event. I am proud that the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy is helping host this event for the first time this year. And as the leader of a country in the process of pursuing transitional justice and historical truth, I am grateful to have this opportunity to once again reflect on the Holocaust and pay tribute to its victims.

Each year we gather with the international community to remember those who perished in the Holocaust, as well as the suffering of all the parents, children, families, and friends touched by this tragedy. We are here today to reaffirm our commitment never to forget their stories. It is only by sharing the memories of these individuals that we can reflect on the lessons of this dark moment in history. The scars of the Holocaust continue to remind us of our responsibility to ensure such a tragedy never happens again.

For us in Taiwan, this responsibility starts with confronting and understanding Taiwan's authoritarian past. It demands that we work diligently to protect human rights. And it requires that we never compromise our commitment to democracy. To pass these lessons on to future generations, our government's Transitional Justice Commission continues to explore the oppression of authoritarian rule in Taiwan. By preserving records from that era and making them available to the public, the commission is advancing Taiwan's efforts to seek historical truth and redress.

In August last year, the National Human Rights Commission started its work to bring Taiwan's human rights protections in line with international standards, while driving human rights awareness across government agencies. The Taiwan Foundation for Democracy is also collaborating with civil society organizations and academia, both at home and abroad, to improve human rights and advocate for democracy.

Our efforts reflect Taiwan's determination to address the past and promote transitional justice, democratic principles, and human rights. But protecting human rights is not just a matter of national policy. Today, across the world, we are facing a resurgence of authoritarianism, populism, and extremism. This worrisome trend highlights the importance of global cooperation to advance human rights and democracy. Taiwan is, and will be, an active participant in these partnerships.

As part of our international human rights outreach, Taiwan joined with the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation last December to promote preservation of the Auschwitz concentration camp memorial site. We hope this project can help keep the memories of Holocaust victims alive for future generations. In addition, Taiwan is proactively working with our international partners to advance religious freedom, gender equality, and women's rights. Through bilateral, multilateral, and civil society initiatives, Taiwan will continue to be a force for good and a strong advocate for freedom and democracy.

The Holocaust remembrance events that the representative offices of Israel and Germany host in Taiwan every year are an important symbol of reconciliation and peaceful co-existence. We in Taiwan are honored to play a part in hosting this event. And this occasion reminds us of all the work we have yet to do. Taiwan will never forget its past. And, together with the international community, we will strive to realize a better, more inclusive, and peaceful future. Thank you very much.

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