Statement by Ambassador Jorge Lobo de Mesquita, Permanent Representative of Portugal to the OSCE:
"Portugal aligns itself with the statement by the European Union on occasion of the international day in memory of the Holocaust victims and would like to add the following in its national capacity:
Today, we remember all the victims of one of the greatest attacks on human dignity in the history of Europe and the world. Portugal strongly condemns any type of discrimination and intolerance, deeming unacceptable every act of racism, xenophobia or anti-Semitism.
After 10 years as an observer country of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), in December 2019 our country has officially become a Member State. Therefore, Portugal marks one more step in the fight against anti-Semitism, honouring the memory of the millions who suffered the horrors of the Holocaust.
Once more we highlight that the past cannot be left out in the past. We argue that this is especially relevant when facing the threat of Holocaust denial. Portugal strongly believes that future generations must be adequately guided towards a frame of tolerance, justice and equity. It is with this intent that the Holocaust is thoroughly analysed in the course of three years of the official academic curriculum, emphasizing its tremendous negative impact on Humankind. Moreover, Portugal recently implemented two new high school modules in which the topic is covered, instigating further debate and discussion.
As a final remark we would like to pay tribute to the Portuguese diplomats Aristides Sousa Mendes, Alberto Teixeira Branquinho and Carlos Sampaio Garrido, responsible for the rescue of over 60,000 human lives from Nazi regime, appraising their acts of personal bravery and humanity. We also recall the role of those who were not indifferent and contribute to save lives, as Padre Joaquim Carreira, also recognised as “a Righteous among the Nations”, for hosting persecuted families while being the Head of the Portuguese College in Roma.
Among others, this men personified the kindness that fought cruelty, the good that resisted evil, and ultimately, life that opposed death. These are the principles and values that Portugal hopes to preserve and strengthen."