Statement by Mr. Saad Warraich, Counsellor at the Pakistan Mission to the UN during the Special Solemn Meeting of the General Assembly to commemorate victims of the Second World War

Islamabad, December 02, 2020 (PPI-OT): We thank you for convening this special solemn meeting of the General Assembly. We also thank the Russian Federation for the General Assembly Resolution A/75/5. Pakistan was happy to cosponsor the resolution. The Second World War was the most destructive war in human history. As fascist ideologies based on atavistic notions of ‘racial’ superiority sought to impose their totalitarian outlook across the globe, millions of lives were lost to this unsatiated ambition for hegemony and global domination. From the verdant battlefields of East Asia to the vast desert expanses of the Middle East and Africa, the people of the subcontinent including from areas constituting Pakistan – though under the colonial yolk – scripted a tale of unmatched heroism and valour in this struggle.

As we pay homage to the sacrifice of the victims, we must also reflect on the lessons of the Second World War. One, grave atrocities and crimes against humanity do not happen in a day. They germinate overtime, in a toxic brew of bigotry, hatred and intolerance. Hate speech is a precursor to atrocity crimes. Two, the international community will ignore the menace of fascist and supremacist ideologies at its own peril. The millions of lives lost across the world serve as a stark reminder that inaction is not a choice.

Three, a policy of appeasement does not work with fascist ideologies. If at all, it emboldens them. Concerted global action is required to defeat these totalitarian ideologies. We are, unfortunately, witnessing a global resurgence of fascist ideologies, hate speech, xenophobia, Islamophobia, incitement to violence and acts of brutal violence. These trends have been exacerbated, rather than ameliorated, by the Covid-19 pandemic- the most serious global crisis since the founding of the United Nations.

Grave crimes against humanity was the tragic legacy of the Second World War. We should not repeat the same mistake by turning a blind eye to contemporary and emerging threats. Only then can we fulfill the Charter’s abiding ideal of saving succeeding generations from the ‘scourge of war’ and to promote social progress and better standards of life ‘in larger freedom.

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