70th anniversary of the UN Convention against Genocide
Germany should step up initiatives against serious human rights violations (Press release)
On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the UN Convention against Genocide, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) calls on the German Federal Government to use its seat in the Security Council to ensure that serious human rights violations will be punished. "Seven decades after the ban on genocide, crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity are still commonplace. The Rohingya, the Yazidis, Darfuris, Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and South Sudanese are just a few examples of peoples who are suffering from such terrible acts, and the world is watching. Germany must use its seat in the Security Council and take over responsibility to try and protect the civilian population from serious crimes like this," emphasized Ulrich Delius, the STP's director, in Göttingen on Thursday.
2018 marks the 70th anniversary not only of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but also of the "Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide". The anti-genocide convention was passed by the United Nations on December 9, 1948.
On the occasion of this anniversary, the STP also criticized the lack of measures to prevent genocide crimes. Warnings of escalating human rights crises are often ignored, and the international community is far from keeping its promise that the crimes of Rwanda must never happen again. "The states must step up their commitment to protect the civilian population from serious crimes – or else, the Convention against Genocide is about to become a worthless piece of paper," Delius criticized. Also, it would be necessary to strengthen the International Criminal Court, to ensure that those who are responsible will be held accountable. At the Millennium Conference in 2005, more than 190 states committed themselves to the responsibility of protecting the civilian population from crimes against humanity and genocide crimes. Nonetheless, more than 600,000 civilians have lost their lives since then, and millions of people have been displaced.
"Many states tend to deny genocide crimes, despite credible evidence, to avoid having to deploy peacekeepers under the anti-genocide convention," Delius stated. "The victims of genocide, such as the Yazidis, have to fear further humiliation and traumatization if genocide crimes are denied. Those who refuse to help victims of crimes against humanity such as rape, hunger blockades, or ethnic cleansing are to be seen as accomplices. Turning the other way will lead to even more crimes."
Header image: United Nations Photo via Flickr