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Wiesenthal Centre to Beslan School Massacre Commemoration Calls for Solidarity Platform of Mayors From Cities Targeted by Terrorism Attacks Against Children

Beslan, Russia, 3 September 2013

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, was invited by the Russian Holocaust Centre to keynote an international conference on “Children – Victims of Terror.” This was held, in Beslan and the Wladikavkaz State University, on the ninth anniversary of the 3 day siege of 1,100 hostages—including 770 children—at the Beslan school in North Ossetia Caucasus, Russia.

Beslan became known around the world in the wake of a Chechen suicide operation that killed over 186 children and over 100 parents, teachers and rescuers. This total number is unknown due to disappeared and burned bodies of hostages and terrorists.

Samuels highlighted the distortion of religious principles of the sanctity of human life and the duty to protect the child in the Jihadist inculcation of a culture of death. He also focussed on the Nazi deliberate targeting of 1,5 million Jewish children, shot, starved and gassed.

The Centre noted that 30 years before Beslan, a similar attack on a school in the Jewish-Arab Galillea town of Masalot-Tarshicka in Israel. 25 children were murdered by Palestinian terrorists. More recently, a Jewish school was attacked by a Jihadist in Toulouse, France, leaving 4 dead.

Samuels discussed with the Mayor of Beslan, the Minister for Ethnic Policy (responsible for counter-terrorism) and the Vice-President of the Republic, the establishment of a solidarity platform of mayors from cities victims of terrorism against children.

The Centre will approach such cities to share the lessons and pain of these atrocities.

Similarly, all children’s welfare organizations from Save the Children to Oxfam, World Vision, Care and the Red Cross will be called upon to join “the Beslan Initiative” by endorsing the designation of terrorism against children as a crime against humanity.

“We hope that the 10th anniversary in September 2014, in the burnt out school memorial and the “City of Angels” cemetery (see photos) will commemorate all child victims of terrorism around the globe in the presence of representatives from the targeted communities.

We believe that this global platform would be a powerful voice of outrage at such acts to strive together that Beslan, Maalot, Toulouse, and all other long-grieving cities serve as a warning and not a precedent,” concluded Samuels.

Attachment: Dr.Samuels' keynote message to the conference

Beslan childrens' monument

Beslan cortege

Beslan officials.Right to left: Valery Sirovatko (Deputy Minister for Ethnic Policy and Counter-Terrorism); Soslan Fraev (Minister for Ethnic Policy); Leonid Kesselbrenner (Vice-President of the North Ossetia Republic); Dr. Shimon Samuels (Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s Director for International Relations); Dr. Ilya Altman (Chair of Russian Holocaust Centre); Lt-Colonel Maxim Zhukov (Alpha Special Force which rescued many wounded children in Beslan school evacuation).

Conference on Children - Victims of Terror at University.  Left to right: Dr. Shimon Samuels (Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s Director for International Relations); Alla Gerber (MP and President of Russian Holocaust Centre); Vice-Rector Kambelov; Vice-President of the Republic Leonids Kesselbrenner; Dr.Ilya Altman (Chair of Russian Holocaust Centre).

In the school gymnasium where 186 children died as hostages

Leaders of the Orphaned Mothers Association

With Beslan Mayor Ruslan Daurev

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre is an international Jewish human rights organization with a worldwide membership of 440,000. Established in 1977, with headquarters in Los Angeles, it draws the lessons of the Holocaust to the analysis of contemporary issues of prejudice and discrimination. The Centre is an NGO in consultative status to the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the Organization of American States and the Council of Europe.

For further information, please contact Dr Shimon Samuels at +33.609.7701.58