04/04/2016

Benjamin Carr's address to the UN Human Rights Council

Benjamin Carr's address to the UN Human Rights Council

Thank you Mr. President,

My name is Benjamin Carr, and I am proud to represent the European Union of Jewish Students, an umbrella organization of 35 national Jewish student unions.

Last year was another turning point for Jewish people across Europe. A tide of anti-Semitic incidents caused great fear and anxiety amongst many Jewish communities, with many people now questioning the future security of Jewish life on the continent.

Whether it was the savage attack on a Jewish supermarket in Paris leaving four dead, or the cold-blooded shooting of Dan Uzan, a guard protecting an event at a synagogue in Copenhagen. These attacks are an assault not just to our physical safety but to the shared values of tolerance and acceptance which underpin many of our nations.

From a young age, I was fortunate enough to attend Jewish day schools in London. Only now do I see what the barbed fencing that surrounded the school and the presence of trained security guards at every entrance was really for. These measures are commonplace across many Jewish schools, synagogues and communal buildings around the world, often with involvement of the military.

Naturally, this raises the question: why should Jewish people have to face this level of fear on a daily basis? Mr President, I can tell you the answer now, there is no answer, we shouldn’t.

Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims that every person has the right to life, liberty and security but with such a dramatic increase in anti-semitic incidents, we have thus far failed to secure this right for all people.

Nevertheless, this body has the power and resources to listen to the concerns of Jewish people and work together to make 2016 a year where no Jewish parent fears sending their child to school, and where no Jew feels that they are unwelcome in their country and must search for a new safer home elsewhere.

I am sure you will agree with me, Mr President, that violence against Jews affects all people everywhere and is a growing threat that we can overcome only if we confront hate together.

Click here to watch Benjamin's full address

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