9 December 2017, GENEVA – The Chairman of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue H. E. Dr. Hanif Hassan Ali Al Qassim appeals to all member States of the United Nations to sign and ratify the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (hereinafter “The Genocide Convention”).
Dr. Al Qassim made this appeal in relation to the observation of the 2017 International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime observed annually on 9 December.
The Geneva Centre’s Chairman noted that the unanimous ratification of the Genocide Convention “would be a symbolic move to end all forms of genocide and grave human rights abuses. Despite the UN General Assembly having adopted the Genocide Convention on 9 December 1948 in response to the immense human suffering witnessed during the Second World War, genocide continues to be resorted to as a tactic of war”.
In this regard, the Geneva Centre’s Chairman remarked that the International Court of Justice upheld in its Advisory Opinion of 26 February 2007 entitled “Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide” that the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia-Herzegovina amounted to genocide.
The genocides in inter alia Cambodia (1975-1979), Burundi (1993) and Rwanda (1994) re-casted an ominous shadow – he noted - on the unspeakable horrors inflicted on civilian populations worldwide.
“The ratification of the 1948 Genocide Convention by all UN member States would be a symbolic act of the world society to stand united in prohibiting all forms of genocide and in bringing perpetrators of such crimes to justice. Genocide constitutes the worst form of crime against humanity and must be prevented all over the world,“ said Dr. Al Qassim.
Despite these observations, the Chairman of the Geneva Centre remarked he was disturbed by the unprecedented rise of violence against the Rohingya minority in Myanmar.
He supported the efforts of the United Nations to investigate and determine whether the gravity and the scale of the human rights violations inflicted on the Rohingya people would amount to genocide.
“World society has a moral responsibility to prevent and end all forms of genocide regardless of where they occur,” said Dr. Al Qassim.
The Chairman of the Geneva Centre concluded his statement stating that perpetrators of all forms of genocide and crimes against humanity “must be brought to justice. If justice is ever to prevail, truth needs to be sought, identified and acted upon, especially in terms of calling violators of human rights to account and of providing remedy and reparations for victims and/or their dependants.
“Genocide must not be allowed to rear its ugly head again. If one ignores history, one is doomed to repeat past mistakes. Genocide constitutes the worst form of crimes against humanity and does not belong in the 21st century,” concluded Dr. Al Qassim in his statement.