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Connecting Law and Memory


On 20 September, the IHRA Chair addressed participants at the conference ‘Connecting Law and Memory’ which took place at Kazerne Dossin in Mechelen. 

The conference, which took place between 20-22 September 2016, was supported by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, the Belgian Federal Police, KZ Gedenkstätte Flossenbürg and the Council of Europe and will bring together representatives of museums & memorials from all over Europe who run programs- based on Holocaust and genocide studies – which provide training courses in human rights for law enforcement and civil servants.

Addressing the audience, the IHRA Chair's speech highlighted the dangers of indifference, hypocrisy and impunity. Citing Elie Wiesel, the Chair reminded the audience: “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”

The goal of the conference was to connect and share existing outreach programs which reflect upon history in order to inform the present day context of civil service work.

The conference aimed to create a coordinating forum and network for sharing expertise with the intention of strengthening civil service through discussion, reflection and roleplay trainings. This conference  examined tools and approaches to prevent and combat racist, xenophobic, and homophobic behaviour as well as other forms of intolerance - frequently aggravated by peer pressure and/or group loyalty -  within law enforcement and other civil service institutions.

An important aspect of the conference was also a reflection on the circumstances needed to initiate and develop these programs, in order to stimulate exchange between institutions and organizations who have existing programs or who are interested in becoming partners.

The draft programme is available on the conference website at:

Kazerne Dossin is a museum, memorial and documentation center on the Holocaust and human rights.

Photo: IHRA Chair addresses conference audience at opening ceremony in front of the"Wall of Portaits" Kazerne Dossin, Memorial, Museum and Documentation Centre on Holocaust and Human Rights’. Credit Nele Custers.