Jan 27, 2020

This Week at the United Nations


27-31 January 2020


Monday, 27 January

Today is the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. Secretary-General António Guterres and others mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz Birkenau concentration camp at a ceremony in the General Assembly hall.

  • An exhibition, “Seeing Auschwitz,” opens in the Visitors Lobby at UN Headquarters in New York. It was created and curated by Musealia, Spain, in collaboration with the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, Poland and is on view until 24 February. Other events at UNHQ include a piano recital by Renan Koen in the ECOSOC Chamber; and a panel discussion, Safe Haven: Jewish Refugees in the Philippines.
  • On 28 January, two more exhibits open: Crimes Uncovered: The First Generation of Holocaust Researchers, in the Sputnik area of the Visitors Lobby, and The Lonka Project, in the 1B Corridor. The latter exhibit examines the first generation of Holocaust researchers who documented and safeguarded evidence of the actions taken against the Jewish people during the Holocaust and lobbied to draw attention to what was happening in Nazi-occupied Europe. It was curated by the Memorial and Educational Site House of the Wannsee-Conference in Berlin in cooperation with the Berlin branch of the Touro College and the Wiener Library in London and sponsored by the Foreign Ministry of the Federal Republic of Germany. A Holocaust survivor will deliver remarks.
  • In Geneva, a major photographic installation by photographer and filmmaker Luigi Toscano is on display. He spent a year travelling and meeting Holocaust survivors in Germany, the United States, Israel, Ukraine and Russia.
  • The United Nations Information Service in Geneva, with the support of the Permanent Missions of Israel, Russia and the United States and the Delegation of the European Union, hosts a ceremony marking the international day. Auschwitz survivor Paul Sobol will share his personal story of the Holocaust; musical interludes will be performed by the choir of the Alliance Girsa School, accompanied by the Hotegezugt orchestra.


The Regular session of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations, organized by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), continues through 29 January.


UN Women hosts a briefing, “25-year review and appraisal of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.”


In Geneva:


Tuesday, 28 January

Secretary-General António Guterres briefs reporters on his priorities for 2020. 

The Presidents of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council hold a briefing. 

The UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee briefs on “Countering terrorist narratives and preventing the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes.”

The 32nd UN-Water Meeting, organized by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), is held at IFAD Headquarters through 29 January.


Wednesday, 29 January

The Security Council holds a briefing, followed by consultations, on the UN Support Mission in Libya. Later in the day it holds a briefing, followed by consultations, on Syria. 

Secretary-General António Guterres participates in the UN75 Inaugural Launch Event, a dialogue hosted by youth with youth participants.


Thursday, 30 January

The Security Council is expected to adopt resolutions on the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus and on Central African Republic sanctions. A briefing and consultations on Syria follow. Later in the day it holds a briefing on Cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organizations in maintaining international peace and security, focused on the role of ASEAN.


Holocaust remembrance events continue:

  • The Permanent Mission of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Program host a screening of the documentary, The Accountant of Auschwitz. A discussion, moderated by Maher Nasser, Director of the Outreach Division at the Department of Global Communications, follows.
  • Holocaust survivor Elisabeth Bellak and her daughter Alexandra will join Robin Shulman at a book signing for Renia’s Diary: A Holocaust Journal.


Friday, 31 January

The Economic and Social Council hosts a meeting with the Chairs of the functional commissions and expert bodies.



In case you missed it:


  • SG António Guterres: Combatting antisemitism requires solidarity in the face of hatred
  • 75 years after Auschwitz liberation, antisemitism still threatens democracies’ foundations
  • WHO: Time to act as one in fighting the infectious coronavirus
  • Drive for quality education worldwide faces mammoth challenges
  • UN chief outlines solutions to defeat “four horsemen” threatening our global future
  • Security Council: 2019 year-in-review shows more openness, diversity
  • Top UN court orders Myanmar to protect Rohingya from genocide
  • Haiti passes milestone showing cholera outbreak has been stopped in its tracks


For more information: