UN Chief Calls for Action Against Genocide

UNITED NATIONS–UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Tuesday marked the 60th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, issuing a statement urging the international community to implement the convention and prevent the crime against humanity.

The statement comes as Sudan’s government continues its genocide in Darfur.

The UN estimates the up to 300,000 people have been killed and 2.7 million forced to flee their homes as a result of the genocide perpetrated by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

President al-Beshir has yet to be brought to justice, with the International Criminal Court still mulling over whether to issue an arrest warrant for Beshir on 10 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

“Sixty years ago today, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide,” The UN Chief said in a written statement, highlighting the convention’s intended mission for nations to “never again stand idle while human beings are murdered in such massive numbers.”

The Convention requires signatory states to prevent punish the crime of genocide, the statement said, noting its definition of genocide as an intended attempt “to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such.”

“Despite these efforts, the world has continued to witness appalling acts that violate human dignity,” Ki-moon said. “Too often, the international response has been inadequate.”

“Far from being consigned to history, genocide and its ilk remain a serious threat, he said in the statement, stressing the imperative of “a willingness to act” to prevent genocide today.

Ki-moon used the historic day to call non-signatory states to sign the document, urging “all States to implement the Convention,” and support the UN’s “efforts to prevent genocide and other serious human rights violations that may degenerate into genocide.”
“Preventing genocide is a collective and individual responsibility,” he said. “We must do everything in our power to ensure that our children may live free from the fear of being killed because they belong to an ethnic, national, religious or racial group.”

The UN chiefs described the UN’s work in preventing genocide as “encompassing a wide range of activities” aimed at promoting human rights, the rule of law, and equality of all people.

He said in the statement that the international organization has established an “office dedicated to genocide prevention,” adding the UN seeks “to ensure that perpetrators of genocide are brought to justice promptly.”

According to the statement, UN member states unanimously adopted in 2005 “a new, groundbreaking global norm” to prevent state leaders committing genocide from “hiding behind the false cloak of sovereignty.”

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