UN observes first International Day in Commemoration of Victims of Genocide

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Adama Dieng. UN Photo/Amanda Voisard

The United Nations is reaffirming its commitment to preventing genocide by remembering the victims of what the Secretary-General has called "this serious international crime."

The International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime is being observed for the first time this Wednesday, 09 December.

Dianne Penn reports.

The international day coincides with the anniversary of the adoption of an anti-genocide convention by the UN General Assembly in 1948.

Paying tribute to those who were killed in genocides should help prevent such crimes from recurring.

 Adama Dieng is the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide.

"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. 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 that the memory of the past will serve as a deterrent to the future."

The day is also an ideal time to reaffirm commitment to prevent "this serious international crime," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a message marking the day.

He explained that preventing genocide means paying more attention to the warning signs, and being prepared to take immediate action to address them.

Mr Ban said genocide does not just happen; neither is it a "fallout" of conflict.

Rather, he said, it unfolds over time, and is most often systematic and planned.  It can also take place outside of conflict situations.

The Secretary-General called for more concerted action to protect people from gross human rights violations and uphold what he called "our common humanity."

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1'43"


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