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IHRA’s working definitions

The issues that fall under the IHRA’s mandate are complex and represent common challenges that do not stop at national borders. In order to sufficiently  address issues related to the Holocaust and the genocide of the Roma, international cooperation among experts, civil society and governments is necessary. Working definitions, important practical educational tools that help raise awareness of key issues related to the Holocaust and the genocide of Roma, help  facilitate and guide this work in the IHRA.  

The drafting process behind the IHRA’s working definitions allows for the expertise of 34 Member Countries to be made accessible to policymakers. The process begins with IHRA experts drafting the working definition in consultation with members of civil society. This process takes years and is usually  spearheaded by one of the IHRA’s Working Groups or Committees. For example, the IHRA working definition of Holocaust denial and distortion was drafted by the experts in the Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial.  

Throughout this process, the experts update their Heads of Delegation on progress. The texts are then presented to the Heads of Delegation of IHRA Member  Countries for approval, usually at one of the IHRA’s biannual Plenary Sessions, where further final amendments may be made. IHRA decisions are non-legally binding and taken by consensus.  

Working definitions serve as practical educational tools. They can be used to sensitize individuals, organizations, and policymakers to issues like Holocaust denial and distortion, antisemitism, and antigypsyism/anti-Roma discrimination. They help raise awareness of how these issues may, taking into account the overall context, manifest themselves. This helps ensure that broad swathes of society are included in the discussions on how to address these persistent problems.  




The IHRA working definitions are available in multiple languages. Click on each individual document to see which languages the resource is available in. While we try to ensure the accuracy of all of our translations, in the event of any discrepancies the English translation takes precedence.   

·       Working Definition of Holocaust-related Materials (2012)  

·       Working Definition of Holocaust Denial and Distortion (2013)  

·       Working Definition of Antisemitism (2016)  

·       Working Definition of Antigypsyism/Anti-Roma Discrimination (2020)