UN Chief to Visit Auschwitz
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is planning to be the first ever UN chief to visit the Auschwitz death camp in Poland, his spokesman said on Tuesday.
In a statement, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said that Ban will visit the camp on Monday "to pay tribute to the victims of the Holocaust and to stress the importance of the UN's work for genocide prevention, tolerance and peace."
More than 1.1 million Jews died in Auschwitz and the adjacent Birkenau death camp at the hands of the Nazis during World War II.
Nesirky said that Ban will fly to Krakow, Poland, following visits to Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania and will then go on to Warsaw to attend the high-level session of a UN conference on climate change.
Ban has been a vocal critic of Israel at times. Recently he released a statement condemning Israel’s announcement that it will build 1,500 new housing units in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo, while expressing “appreciation” for Israel’s decision to release terrorists who murdered Israelis as a “gesture” to the Palestinian Authority.
In August the UN chief admitted that the organization he heads is biased against Israel, telling Israeli students that “because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israel has been weighed down by criticism and suffered from bias and sometimes even discrimination”.
Ban said told the students that Israel should be treated equal to all the other 192 UN member states.
He later backtracked on this statement, telling an Israeli reporter, "No, I don’t think there is discrimination against Israel at the United Nations.”