UN official welcomes proclamation of International Day to honour victims of genocide

Machetes and bullets in Gisenyi, Rwanda, 26 July 1994. UN Photo/John Isaac

14 September 2015 – The United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide has welcomed the resolution adopted by the General Assembly last week proclaiming 9 December as the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime.

“Remembering the events of the past and paying tribute to those who perished should strengthen our resolve to prevent such events from ever happening again,” Adama Dieng said in a press release issued today.

“We have a collective responsibility to prevent genocide – and by commemorating the victims of the crime of genocide, we can dignify them and show that we are not indifferent, that we care about what happened to them and will never forget them.”

Genocide is defined by the UN as a crime that is committed against members of a national, ethnic or religious group solely because they are members of that group. Genocide also entails there being intent to exterminate a particular group.

The 9th of December is the anniversary of the signing of the 1948 Genocide Convention. The International Day is intended to commemorate and honour the victims of the crime of genocide around the world, and to raise awareness of the Convention and its role in protecting populations from future genocides.

In adopting the resolution on Friday, without a vote, the 193-member Assembly reiterated the responsibility of each individual State to protect its populations from genocide, which entails the prevention of such a crime, including incitement to it, through appropriate and necessary means, and that fighting impunity for the crime of genocide is an important factor in its prevention.

“Genocide represents the very worst of humanity. No human being should experience such a terrible crime,” Mr. Dieng stated.


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