At the ceremony, Guterres recognized the threat of discrimination today and its harmful effects since the 1930s.
The Holocaust was the culmination of millennia of anti-Semitic hatred, and the painful truth is that anti-Semitism is everywhere, he warned.
The date, he added, is a call to be constantly vigilant and not to remain silent in the face of hate, intolerance or the suffering of others.
The United Nations cited the current impact of the economic crisis, populism, misinformation, hate speech, “growing disregard for human rights and disregard for the rule of law” as threats in the face of a similar catastrophe.
White supremacist and neo-Nazi ideologies, attempts to rewrite history, Holocaust denial and to rehabilitate their collaborators, and intolerance are also present in today’s societies, he added.
“The neo-Nazi and white supremacist movements are becoming more dangerous every day,” he said, recalling events such as the shootings in Buffalo and El Paso in the United States and the attacks on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The targets range from mosques to synagogues, refugee centers and supermarkets, he stressed.
Guterres thanked the participation of Holocaust survivors in the ceremony, who give meaning to the work of the United Nations to “save future generations from the scourge of war”.
“We know how easily hate speech becomes hate crime, how verbal violence leads to physical violence, how diversity and social cohesion are undermined, as well as the values and principles that unite us,” he said.
Since 2005, January 27 has been declared International Holocaust Remembrance Day by a resolution of the UN General Assembly.
The date coincides with the liberation of Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau by Soviet troops in 1945.