The U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution by consensus on Tuesday establishing an annual day to commemorate the six million victims of the Nazi Holocaust during World War II, the vast majority of them Jews. The International Day of Commemoration will be held every year on Jan. 27.
General Assembly President Jan Eliasson banged the gavel signifying consensus after asking whether there were any objections and hearing none.
Israel's U.N. Ambassador Dan Gillerman thanked the 191 members of the General Assembly "at this unique and historic moment ... for adopting this unprecedented resolution."
But after the vote, Egypt's U.N. Ambassador Maged Abdelaziz complained that the day should commemorate all victims of genocide and not be limited just to victims of the Holocaust.
The resolution emphasizes both "the duty to remember" and "the duty to educate" future generations about the mass slaughter ordered out by Adolf Hitler, Germany's wartime Nazi leader.
More than a dozen countries spoke during the debate on the resolution which began Monday and ended Tuesday morning.
As the world marks the 60th anniversaries this year of both the founding of the U.N. and the end of World War II, Israel's Gillerman told the General Assembly on Monday that the Nazi slaughter must never be forgotten.
The resolution was sponsored initially by Israel, the United States, Australia, Canada and Russia. Gillerman said Tuesday it had 104 co-sponsors.
The resolution urges individual countries to develop educational programs to try to prevent future acts of genocide.
It also rejects any denial of the Holocaust, condemns discrimination and violence based on religion or ethnicity, and calls for the U.N. to establish an outreach program to encourage the public to engage in Holocaust remembrance activities. A.M.