WJC representative delivering the statement: Mr. Leon Saltiel, WJC Representative to the United Nations in Geneva
Thank you, Madam President.
The World Jewish Congress, representing Jewish communities in more than 100 countries, congratulates the Special Rapporteur for his tireless work to safeguard religious freedom worldwide. At a time when extremism and hatred are on the rise, we are grateful to have Dr. Shaheed as an important ally in the fight against these scourges.
Mr. Rapporteur, we thank you for your latest report and fully endorse your claim that religious beliefs cannot be invoked as a legitimate ‘justification’ for violence or discrimination against women and girls or against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
In addition, we thank you for the first ever UN report on combating antisemitism that you presented at the last UNGA session. You correctly stressed that antisemitic incidents are increasing in magnitude in several countries, including online, creating a climate of fear among many Jews, and impeding their right to practice their religion. You noted that antisemitism threatens, not only Jews, but also members of other minority communities. Indeed, antisemitism is toxic to democracy and is a menace to all societies.
Mr. Rapporteur, you urged States to adopt a human rights-based approach in combating antisemitism, a position that the WJC has advocated for many years. in line with your recommendations, how can this Council play a stronger role in combating antisemitism around the world?