As the world honored the memory of the millions of people exterminated in the Nazi Holocaust, the United Nations warned Friday that the rise of extremism and hatred could trigger another monstrous act of genocide.
U.N. officials used International Holocaust Remembrance Day to urge nations to be vigilant and to take preventive action against anti-Semitism, xenophobia, racism and anti-Muslim sentiment.
There is anecdotal evidence of an upsurge in those kinds of crimes following the divisive Brexit campaign in the United Kingdom and the presidential campaign in the United States, according to Rupert Colville, spokesman for the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
"The kind of social restraints, the cultural restraints, appear to be slipping quite fast, certainly in Europe and possibly the U.S. as well, but also in other parts of the world,” Colville told VOA. “You know you have ethnic-based attacks and religious-based attacks in quite a few countries that are actually leading to deaths and destruction, and so on. So, yeah, it is always a worrying phenomenon and it does appear to be getting worse, at least in some countries."
In Washington, President Donald Trump marked the day by issuing a statement saying it is with "a heavy heart and somber mind" that Americans remember the survivors and victims of the Holocaust.
Trump pledged to do everything in his power to ensure that the forces of evil never again defeat the powers of good. In a departure from some of his campaign rhetoric that singled out various ethnic groups for criticism, Trump said his administration, together with others, will work to make love and tolerance prevalent throughout the world.