The European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism, known as the Black Ribbon Day in some countries, which is observed on 23 August, is the international remembrance day for victims of totalitarian ideologies, specifically totalitarian communist regimes, Stalinism, Nazism and fascism.
It was designated by the European Parliament in 2008/2009 as "a Europe-wide Day of Remembrance for the victims of all totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, to be commemorated with dignity and impartiality," and has been observed annually by the bodies of the European Union since 2009. The European Parliament’s 2009 resolution on European conscience and totalitarianism, co-sponsored by the European People’s Party, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, The Greens–European Free Alliance, and the Union for Europe of the Nations, called for its implementation in all of Europe. The establishment of 23 August as an international remembrance day for victims of totalitarianism was also supported by the 2009 Vilnius Declaration of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.
23 August was chosen to coincide with the date of the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, a non-aggression pact between the USSR and Nazi Germany which contained a protocol dividing Romania, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland into designated German and Soviet Spheres of Influence. The treaty was described by the European Parliament’s president Jerzy Buzek in 2010 as "the collusion of the two worst forms of totalitarianism in the history of humanity." The remembrance day originated in protests held in western cities against Soviet crimes and occupation in the 1980s, initiated by Canadian refugees from countries occupied by the Soviet Union, and that culminated in The Baltic Way, a major demonstration during the Revolutions of 1989 that contributed to the liberation of the Baltic states.
The purpose of the Day of Remembrance is to preserve the memory of the victims of mass deportations and exterminations, while promoting democratic values with the aim of reinforcing peace and stability in Europe.
23 August is also officially recognised by Canada and the United States, where it is known as Black Ribbon Day.
Source: wikipedia.org | osce.org