Commemoration of the Holocaust and fight against racism and anti-semitism

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Belgium was among the first countries to adopt specific legislation against racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia.

The law of July 30th 1981 prohibits and punishes any expression of racism, religious intolerance, anti-Semitism and xenophobia. An additional law was adopted in March 1995 prohibiting and punishing the denial, belittling, justification or approval of the Holocaust.

Keeping alive the memory of the Holocaust and passing it on to the young generations is a priority for the Belgian government, as exemplified in many recent actions and initiatives.

In 2012-2013 Belgium presided the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, an intergovernmental body comprising 31 countries, whose purpose is to place political and social leaders’ support behind the need for Holocaust education, remembrance and research both nationally and internationally. 

On the initiative of the Government of Belgium, an International Conference on Genocide Prevention gathered in Brussels on March 31st-April 1st 2014. Delegates of 125 States (among them Israel), academics, legal experts, representatives of the civil society discussed ways and means to rid mankind of the scourge of mass atrocities.

Belgian high-school teachers participate regularly in seminars on the teaching of the Holocaust at Yad Vashem.

A few years ago, the Belgian government took the initiative to renovate the Belgian Pavilion in Auschwitz. Belgium also contributed financially to the "Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation" for a long-term conservation program that will make it possible to safeguard the remains of the camp for future generations.

The Jewish Museum of Deportation and Resistance in Malines has been thoroughly renovated and was inaugurated in November 2012 under a new name “Kazerne Dossin – Memorial, Museum and Documentation Center on Holocaust and Human Rights”.