UK government appoints first-ever envoy for Holocaust-related issues
14 June 2010
The British government has appointed its first-ever envoy to deal with post-Holocaust issues. Foreign Secretary William Hague announced that Sir Andrew Burns, a former ambassador to Israel, would take the job. Hague said his country was committed to preserving the memory of the Holocaust and would support efforts to make sure that the lessons of this period in history are not forgotten.
Burns will oversee efforts to resolve outstanding issues and claims related to property and art restitution. He will also take part in education efforts and promote remembrance and research about the Holocaust. "Sir Andrew's appointment will ensure that we continue to support those working to right past wrongs," Hague said.
Burns' appointment was applauded in Israel. "We think it's a very positive and important step ... and we wish him a lot of success in his work in promoting Holocaust education and fighting for the rights of the survivors," said Estee Yaari, a spokeswoman for Yad Vashem, was quoted by AP as saying. "The Holocaust is an issue that is part of all of our history."
Recent international efforts have focused on providing restitution to aging victims of Nazi persecution. Last week, more than 40 countries agreed on a set of international rules for returning real estate stolen by the Nazis to their rightful owners or heirs.