European Parliament commemorates Jan Karski

The Polish Parliament has declared 2014 as the Year of Jan Karski

The Polish Parliament has declared 2014 as the Year of Jan Karski, Polish World War II resistance movement fighter and the first to inform about the horrors of Holocaust. To commemorate his name two events scheduled in the European Parliament in Brussels. On the 8th of January 2014 Jacek Saryusz-Wolski MEP and the Director of the Polish History Museum Robert Kostro hosted a conference “Responsibility to Protect – the Legacy of Jan Karski”, under the patronage of the EPP Group. the second event is the exhibition “The World knew – Jan Karski’s Mission for Humanity”.

In 2014 we will celebrate the centenary of the birth of Jan Karski, the emissary of the Polish Underground State and national hero. It is a unique opportunity to remind the world of his mission, courage and moral message – said Jacek Saryusz-Wolski MEP (EPP, Poland).

During the conference “Responsibility to Protect – the Legacy of Jan Karski” international experts and politicians debated Jan Karski and his mission from a historical perspective. They also discussed the lessons that we could draw from it in the context of contemporary geopolitical events, including the doctrine of the responsibility to protect civilians in armed conflicts (R2P).

Conference panelist biograms

The conference was attended by eminent historians, authors of books about Jan Karski, people who knew him personally and witnessed his message, including Professor Luca BERNARDINI, Professor Marek DROZDOWSKI, journalist and historian Jean-Yves POTEL and author Maciej WIERZYŃSKI. High-ranking politicians confirmed their participation in the event, including Kjel Magne BONDEVIK, former Prime Minister of Norway and the author of the report on the “Responsibility to Protect” for the UN; Franco FRATTINI, former Italian Foreign Minister; Ana PALACIO, former Spanish Foreign Minister, Adam Daniel ROTFELD, former Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Elmar BROK, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the European Parliament. A special message will be delivered by former National Security Adviser to President Jimmy Carter Professor Zbigniew BRZEZIŃSKI.

“Jan Karski was one of humanity’s heros: he had the great courage to move from the responsibility to protect to moral duty to protect”, said Franco Frattini. “Answering the question on what is a just cause and what is an unjust cause, I believe that what is most important is really how to make global governance more effective; for example strengthening international institutions. To this end a crucial issue is how to broaden the international recognition of the legitimacy of the Statute of the International Criminal Court. Not all international actors agree. Let’s at least agree a common european foreign policy incorporating the protection of common human rights as a top priority”.

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