On September 13, within the framework of the 39th Session of the UN Human Rights Council the High-level panel discussion in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was held; holding of the panel was enshrined in the Armenia- initiated Resolution on Genocide Prevention adopted at the 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council on March 23, 2018 in Geneva.
At the panel chaired by Vojislav Šuc, President of the Human Rights Council, Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, Foreign Minister of Armenia and Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, made opening remarks. The panelists were Adama Dieng, Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, former Registrar of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Kimberly Prost, Judge of the International Criminal Court, former judge of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, William Schabas, Professor of international law at Middlesex University, Professor of international criminal law and human rights at Leiden University and Fabian Salvioli, Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence.
Welcoming the attendees Minister reiterated that Armenia is firm in its commitment and resolve towards continued efforts in advancing the human rights agenda, preventing atrocity crimes, including genocides.
The Foreign Minister noted that by adopting the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in 1948, the international community made a commitment to never again allow this crime to happen.
“We have uttered “Never Again” so many times since, yet genocides have not been fenced off. Tendencies of radicalism, exclusion and hatred are rattling the international agenda. Particularly troubling is the conspicuous decline in the international commitment to multilateralism and respect for human rights at a time when we need more international cooperation and stronger institutions for this, especially the United Nations.”
Emphasizing that nearly a quarter of the UN membership delays accession to this core international instrument, Minister Mnatsakanyan underscored that Armenia as a country which have been consistently advancing the prevention of genocide, including within the United Nations, joins its voice to the appeal of the Special Adviser concerning the universalization of the Convention.
Highlighting the role of education in the promotion of a culture of respect for human rights the Minister stressed that Armenia offers a solid platform for international co-operation for the prevention of genocide through the Global Forum Against the Crime of Genocide first held back in 2015.
Concluding his remarks Minister Mnatsakanyan reiterated the deep conviction that “never again” should be uttered once and for all.