We pay tribute to the memory of the victims of genocide on this year’s International Day, in honour of the 80th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide by the United Nations General Assembly. We need to continue working together to live up to the joint promise of ‘never again’.
Commemorating this day gives voice to victims of genocide and raises awareness of genocides globally. Genocide never happens in a vacuum – it is the final stage of escalation of hatred. Xenophobia, racial and ethnic profiling, glorification of hate crimes, often guided and encouraged by the political leaders within a state, are always a clear early warning sign for the international community of potential conflict and atrocity crimes.
Early identification and decisive reactions are essential to prevention. At the same time, comprehensive, joint work needs to ensure that the perpetrators of such crimes are held accountable and do not go unpunished. The Responsibility to Protect is a principle that the EU has integrated in its policies and we are closely working together with international partners, in particular with the United Nations and the International Criminal Court, and civil society organisations, to end impunity for those responsible for the horrendous crime of genocide and to establish effective prevention schemes.
As part of our daily work we build societal resilience and address the root causes of conflict and atrocities across the world through our diplomatic outreach, our multilateral cooperation and through development cooperation.
Putting an end to genocide is a generational challenge, one that requires constant engagement. The European Union will continue to lead these endeavours. We owe it to the many victims, their families and their societies. We owe it to our common future.