Today we honour the memory of the victims of genocide and we denounce the sufferings of those who still endure this crime in far too many places of the world.
Genocide is more than just a crime, it is a deliberate intention to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group. It aims to erase an identity, a history, it challenges everything Europe stands for.
Accountability and the fight against impunity are key to ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice and atrocities do not occur again in the future. It is necessary to bridge the gap between discourse and facts and to continue to act to prevent and punish it.
It is not isolated events that lead to genocide - genocide is the end result of a sequence of deliberate actions. To prevent them, we must pay strong attention to early warning signs and take early action. The EU will continue its work with all the partners, in particular the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, and civil society organisations to this end.
The Responsibility to Protect and the prevention of genocide and other atrocity crimes are an integral part of the EU's foreign and security policy. Our sixteen Common Security and Defence Policy missions and operations around the world work to protect civilians and help our partners to build up more accountable and effective justice and security sectors. Our conflict Early Warning System integrates an atrocity prevention dimension - with an Atrocity Prevention Toolkit, we aim at providing our staff around the world with specific hands-on knowledge on how they can contribute to atrocity prevention in their daily work.
To effectively prevent genocide we are working to build societal resilience and address the root causes of conflict and atrocities across the world. This is part of our daily work, through development cooperation, through our diplomatic outreach and through our multilateral cooperation.
We stand in for human rights and fundamental freedoms, supporting civil society work and human rights defenders, raising critical issues in our human rights dialogues with our partners. To make sure that the horrendous crime of genocide cannot happen again.