UN General Assembly Designates ‘International Day of Commemoration of Victims of Genocide and of its Prevention’

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UNGA Adopts Resolution on International Genocide Commemoration Day, Initiated by Armenia

The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution entitled “International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime,” at the 103rd plenary meeting of its 69th session on Sept. 11. This resolution, which was initiated by Armenia, comes months after the adoption of another important resolution—also initiated by Armenia— that was adopted by the UN Human Rights Council in March 2015. The UN Human Rights Council then recommended to the UN General Assembly to designate such an International Day. This UN General Assembly resolution adds to the continued efforts of Armenia to promote consolidated international action against the crime of genocide.

UN General Assembly

Introducing the draft resolution on behalf of 84 co-sponsors from all regional groups, Armenia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, noted that “millions of human lives have been lost as a result of the most horrendous crime—the crime of genocide—that humankind has to its shame demonstrated ability to commit.”

“We believe the International Day will serve an important platform for prevention by way of commemoration,” added Mnatsakanyan, as the designated day, Dec. 9, is the date when the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was adopted in 1948.

Reaffirming the significance of the 1948 Convention as an effective international instrument for the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide, the UNGA resolution acknowledges that victims of this crime call for a form of memorialization, which plays an important role in the prevention of genocide. It also reiterates the responsibility of each state to protect its populations from genocide, including incitement to it, through appropriate and necessary means. It further states that fighting impunity for genocide is an important factor in its prevention.

The resolution encourages states, international organizations, civil society, and individuals to observe the International Day in order to raise awareness of the 1948 Convention and its role in combating and preventing genocide, and to commemorate and honor its victims.

Mnatsakanyan remarked that the International Day would restore some dignity to the victims of past inaction. He noted that justice denied haunts generations of survivors, and undermines the fight against impunity. He also underlined the collective responsibility of member states in putting together the building blocks of a rigid system to prevent the crime of genocide, and to deny potential perpetrators the capability to carry out such crimes. “It would be the most appropriate way of paying tribute to the memories of victims [of genocide],” concluded Mnatsakanyan.

Source: Armenian Weekly
Link: UN General Assembly Designates ‘International Day of Commemoration of Victims of Genocide and of its Prevention’