UN chief honours Holocaust victims at Auschwitz

OSWIECIM, Poland (AFP) - UN leader Ban Ki Moon on Monday paid homage to Holocaust victims at the former Nazi German death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, pledging to "build a world of equality and dignity for all".

Mr Ban was joined by a former Polish prisoner, 87-year-old Marian Turski, and Tel Aviv's Chief Rabbi Israel Meir Lau as he walked through the gate with the infamous "Arbeit macht frei" sign at the World War II camp in southern Poland.

"I pay my deepest tribute to the victims and survivors of the Holocaust, a most terrible horror in human history," Mr Ban wrote in the memorial book at the site's museum.

"The United Nations is strongly committed to the vital work of Holocaust remembrance and education, and to building a world of equality and dignity for all."

Mr Ban laid a wreath at the foot of the wall where the Nazis shot prisoners, before pausing in thought before a barbed wire fence.

Six million European Jews died during Nazi Germany's campaign of genocide in World War II.

One million Jews were killed at Auschwitz-Birkenau, along with more than 100,000 others including non-Jewish Poles, Roma, Soviet prisoners of war and anti-Nazi partisans, according to the museum.

Mr Ban flew in from neighbouring Lithuania, current holder of the rotating half-year EU presidency, for the three-day Poland visit.

He will attend ongoing UN climate talks in Warsaw and meet with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and President Bronislaw Komorowski.