Delegation of the European Union
to the United Nations - New York

EU Statement – United Nations General Assembly: 71st Anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide

New York, 09/12/2019 - 16:51, UNIQUE ID: 191209_18
Statements on behalf of the EU

9 December 2019, New York - Statement on behalf of the EU and its Member States by H.E. Mr. Silvio Gonzato, Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, at the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Invitation by the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect at the event on the 71st anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime

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Chair, 

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.  

Today marks the anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Conceived in 1948, in the aftermath of the atrocities committed during the Second World War, and in the spirit of "never again", it is welcoming that universality, of the first human rights treaty adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations, is within reach. New parties – Dominica, Mauritius and Turkmenistan – have acceded to the convention that counts 152 parties, including all the EU Member States.

Ratifying the Genocide Convention recognises the responsibility of States towards their populations and shows respect for the victims of this horrendous crime.  This is not only a moral obligation towards humanity. It provides the legal basis for effective legal and policy tools at national level, as well as structures that can address these early warning signs as the first step towards prevention.

On 9 December, the world pays its respects to the victims of genocide on the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and the Prevention of this Crime.  Prevention is a key element. Therefore, addressing hate speech is crucial, and we welcome the United Nations Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech launched this year which also recognises the need to keep up with technological innovation and to address the misuse of Internet and social media for spreading hate speech. Hate speech is in itself an attack on tolerance, inclusion, diversity and the very essence of our human rights norms and principles.

The Responsibility to Protect and the prevention of genocide and other atrocity crimes form an integral part of the EU's foreign and security policy. The EU will continue to support the documentation of all violations of international human rights law, and efforts to gather evidence in view of future legal action by mechanisms such as UN-mandated Commissions of Inquiry and International Mechanisms, as a way to prepare the ground for holding to account those who have perpetrated grave crimes, including through the ICC and the action of national jurisdictions.

The EU, fully supportive of the mandates of the UNDSG and Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, and of the Special Envoy, as well as the United Nations Special Advisor on the Responsibility to Protect, will continue working with national and international partners including civil society to prevent genocide and to fight impunity wherever it occurs.

Thank you.

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