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Mankind is under threat of genocide crime, warns UN

09/12/2015 14:09

The United Nations has called for more attention to be paid to the crime of genocide as warning signs are on the rise all over the world.

The UN's Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, made the call in a message on the first-ever International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and the Prevention of this Crime.

"After all, genocide does not just happen; it unfolds over time.  It is not part of the accidental "fallout" of conflict; most often, it is systematic, planned, with precise targets, and it can also take place outside of conflict situations," he said.

"Across the world today, intolerance and xenophobia are on the rise. A dangerous 'us versus them' dynamic is often being exploited to justify the exclusion of communities based on different forms of identity such as religion, ethnicity or other, and to deny assistance, restrict human rights and perpetrate atrocious acts of violence."

The UN General Assembly had in September this year fixed December 9, which is the anniversary of the adoption of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, to remember and honour the victims of the crime and to raise awareness of the Genocide Convention and its role in combating and preventing the crime of genocide.

Ban Ki-moon, who explained that preventing genocide meant paying more attention to the warning signs, and being prepared to take immediate action to address them, said the prevention of genocide "is a specific obligation under international law".

He added, "Governments must act on this imperative by investing in prevention and taking preventive action.  On this new international observance, let us recognise the need to work together more concertedly to protect individuals from gross human rights violations and uphold our common humanity."

Since World War II during which between six to 11 million Jews were killed, there have been over 20 reported cases of genocide, including the 1994 Rwandan genocide in which 800,000 Tutsis and Hutu sympathisers were murdered.

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