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 Monday, December 4 2023 22:37
Marianna Mkrtchyan

Collective failure in genocide prevention should not be a  justification for individual inaction for each and every UN member  state - Armenian FM

Collective failure in genocide prevention should not be a  justification for individual inaction for each and every UN member  state - Armenian FM

ArmInfo.On December 4, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia delivered  remarks at the intersessional meeting of the Human Rights Council dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

The meeting was organized based on the tasking of the Human Rights  Council's resolution authored by Armenia.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Trk and the Special  Adviser of the UN Secretary- General on the Prevention of Genocide  and Under Secretary-General Alice Wairimu Nderitu also delivered  opening remarks during the event. High-ranking representatives of UN  specialized bodies, rapporteurs and well-known experts in the field  participated as panellists at the meeting.

"Excellences,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Armenia warmly welcomes the participants and panelists of the  Intersessional Meeting on the Prevention of Genocide and extends its  gratitude to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for  the organization of today's session.

On 9 December we will mark the 75th anniversary of the adoption of  the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of  Genocide. Today, 153 UN member states are bound by the universal  obligation of punishing and preventing this crime of crimes.

Indeed, the Convention is a powerful crime suppression multilateral  treaty. But not only. Today, the obligations emanating from the  Convention have been well mainstreamed in the resolutions of the  Human Rights Council on genocide prevention. 

Against this backdrop, I find it extremely important that the  resolutions on Genocide Prevention enjoy wide cross-regional support  and consensus in the Human Rights Council. It reflects a larger  international consensus on the absolute imperative to prevent  genocides through protection of individual and collective human  rights of ethnic, religious, racial and national groups.

In this regard, the Human Rights Council is well-placed to be at the  forefront of genocide prevention. We hope that the synergies and the  cooperation between the Office of the Special Adviser of the  Secretary General on the Prevention of Genocide, treaty bodies, and  special procedure mandate holders will be further strengthened and  institutionalized.

I take this opportunity to highlight the extensive work carried out  by Special Adviser Alice Wairimu Nderitu.  

Excellences,

I have no doubt that the deliberations at this meeting will once  again demonstrate the relevance of mass atrocity prevention in  today's world. The world we live in today is a dangerous place for  many ethnic and religious groups, and the intent to destroy them on a  certain territory has been manifested worldwide, particularly now  when the international security arrangements and human rights  mechanisms are in continuous decline.

The very idea of eliminating right holders as the medium of resolving  conflicts has never been so "appealing" for perpetrators of crimes as  it is today. The conflict situations provide ample environment for  perpetrators, who under the guise of another party to the conflict,  claim from the international community a treatment equal to one that  should be extended to the victims.

Disparity of force has always been a constant feature of genocide.  And by saying force, I did not exclusively refer to the military  advantage of perpetrators but their ability to use new technologies  in disinformation and misinformation in order to dehumanize victims,  prepare grounds for deadly actions with their subsequent  justification.  

One year ago, the 4th Global Forum Against the Crime of Genocide  organized in Yerevan considered the role of new technologies in  genocide prevention both from positive and negative angles. The  Yerevan declaration adopted during the Forum acknowledged that the  spread of disinformation and misinformation, particularly on social  media platforms, can serve as a new propaganda tool to mislead and  spread racism, intolerance, xenophobia, negative stereotyping and  stigmatization, to violate and abuse human rights and dehumanize  groups on the basis of identity.

Dear friends,

The perpetration of mass atrocities, including genocides, continues  to take a considerable time in all its phases. As a matter of fact,  the collective punishment of targeted groups takes different forms  and manifestations, evolving incrementally in its gravity, including  through violations of international human rights and international  humanitarian laws, disruption of critical infrastructure, siege and  massive violence.  Needless to say that many mass atrocities could  have been prevented once early warning signals were identified during  those phases.

Collective failure should not be a justification for individual  inaction for each and every UN member state.

Another important dimension of international responsibility is the  international protection of victims, including those forcibly  displaced.

Two months ago, the Republic of Armenia provided shelter and means of  subsistence to more than 100 thousand refugees, the entire population  of Nagorno-Karabakh uprooted from its ancestral homeland.  Support of  the international community is essential in providing international  protection for these victims of ethnic cleansing.

Excellences,

Decades ago, when Armenia assumed responsibility in mainstreaming  human rights into genocide prevention, we were driven by our moral  duty towards the past. Today, we see that it is not merely about the  past, rather our joint efforts are aimed at the present and future: a  future of humanity free of hatred, racism, xenophobia and intolerance  leading to mass atrocity crimes.

Despite all setbacks of the international human rights and security  system, we will continue to actively engage in the Human Rights  Council and other multilateral platforms for further elaboration of  tools and mechanisms for the prevention of genocides and other mass  atrocities.

I thank again the OHCHR and High Commissioner Volker Trk for the  organization of the meeting and wish every success to panellists and  participants."  

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