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Adoption by the Human Rights Council (UN) of the resolution on Prevention of Genocide

22.03.2013

On March 22, the Resolution on Prevention of Genocide presented by Armenia was passed by a consensus during the 22nd sitting of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The Permanent Mission of Armenia to the United Nations Office in Geneva was the initiator of the draft resolution on prevention of genocide. After several initiatives, the Human Rights Council passed a resolution dedicated to the 50th Anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in 1998, as well as the resolutions on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in 1999 and 2001. In 2008, the Human Rights Council passed the resolution on the Prevention of Genocide. All the mentioned resolutions have been passed by a consensus and have been supported by the UN-member states. 

Armenia’s proposed resolution was aimed at keeping the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, other agreements related to that resolution and the problems with their application in the focus of the international community in order to underline the need for all countries’ joint efforts to eliminate the crime of genocide. 

During the preparation for this draft resolution, the Armenian delegation held several bilateral and multilateral meetings which helped achieve an agreement on the consensus text. 

The text of the resolution adopted today reflects all the main developments that have taken place in the context of the prevention of genocide in the world since the adoption of the previous resolution in 2008. For the first time, the resolution reflects upon the developments related to the right to truth in regard to the prevention of genocide, encouraging truth for the prevention of genocide and urging countries to collaborate with special reporters to promote the truth, justice, restoration and guarantees that genocide will never happen again. The resolution reaffirms the importance of the mechanisms for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and calls on countries to present in their national reports information about the steps taken to prevent genocide and other massive crimes. The special focus is on education about the prevention of genocide, particularly the implementation of educational programs and projects that will prevent genocide, as well as the technical support from governments and relevant UN offices. 

The resolution calls on the governments of UN-member countries to set National Days of Remembrance of the victims of genocides committed in the past so that such horrible crimes are never forgotten. 

The adoption of the resolution is symbolic in that this year marks the 65th anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. According to the resolution, UN-member countries, relevant UN structures and other interested bodies will participate in a high-level roundtable during the 25th sitting of the Human Rights Council in 2014. 

In his speech, the RA Representative mentioned: “Any initiative for the prevention of genocide is a tribute to the victims of genocides committed in the past and the guarantee that it will never happen again. The resolution is everyone’s contribution to the accomplishment of that goal and evidence of our collective commitment to build a safe future based on lessons learned in the past. There can’t be one people, nation or group that has become a victim of genocide. If it’s genocide, then we are all the victims since it is a crime against humanity. It’s the same as the fact that there can’t be one government or one individual guilty of or responsible for genocide. We’re all responsible for preventing ourselves from being responsible and for being responsible.” 

The resolution was widely supported and was co-authored by all HRC regional groups representing 52 [1] countries. The resolution will be available for co-authors for another week.  

[1] Armenia, Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Australia, United States of America, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, Egypt, Ecuador, Estonia, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Croatia, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Honduras, Greece, Hungary, Mexico, Montenegro, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Chile, Czech Republic, Panama, Peru, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, San Marino, Slovenia, Slovakia, Georgia, Uruguay, Kenya, Finland, France.