GENEVA — On March 27, 2015 the “Prevention of genocide” resolution initiated by Armenia was adopted at the 28th session of the UNO Human Rights Council by consensus. 64 states introducing all the regional groups of the Human Rights Council joined Armenia and co-authored the resolution. The resolution will be open for the co-authoring for two more weeks.
In a resolution (A/HRC/28/L.25) on the prevention of genocide, adopted without a vote, the Council recommends that the General Assembly designate 9 December as the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of Genocide in order to raise awareness of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and its role in combatting and preventing the crime of genocide; invites the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide to continue to execute the activities under his mandate, including in the follow-up to the present resolution, by providing States with guidance, assistance and follow-up, upon their request; invites the Special Adviser to an interactive dialogue with the Human Rights Council at its thirty-first session on the progress made in discharging his duties; and requests the Secretary-General to draw up a roster of focal points and networks on the prevention of genocide with updated information from Member States.
The Council also underlines that the issue of the terrorist activities that constitute the crime of genocide as established in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide should be addressed within the existing counter-terrorism framework; and emphasizes the important role that education, including human rights education, can play in genocide prevention, and further encourages Governments to promote, as appropriate, educational programs and projects that contribute to the prevention of genocide.
Armenia, introducing resolution L.25, said that the draft resolution had been presented by Armenia since 1998, and hoped that the current draft resolution would be adopted by consensus as well. The draft represented sustained efforts of Armenia at the international level to prevent the crime of genocide and to implement the Convention on the Prevention and Suppression of Genocide. It reiterated that the fight against impunity was key in the prevention of genocide. It underscored the need to identify the root causes of genocide, and suggested that a list of contact points be established to strengthen the prevention of genocide. It also proposed that 9 December be set up as the international day of commemoration of victims of genocide. The international community should mobilize to prevent genocide and other acts of violence, and Armenia thus called for the draft resolution to be adopted by consensus. The text of the resolution provided a balance for several contradictory positions, and it was hoped that such an approach would be appreciated by all Member States.
France, in a general comment, said that the work done so far on the prevention of genocide should be mentioned in the text. The concept of responsibility to protect should remain in the text as it was vital in the prevention of genocide. France thus called for vote on the proposed amendments, which aimed to remove that concept from the text, and it called on all Member States to reject them. The country called upon Member States to adopt the draft resolution as revised by Armenia. The draft reflected a balance. The subject of this resolution was very important to the cause of humanity – namely prevention of genocide. For this reason, France could not accept the amendments and asked all members to reject them.
United States, in a general comment, urged Member States to vote no on all amendments and in favor of all paragraphs of the draft resolution. The United States was dismayed at the tabling of unclear amendments in a very late stage and in a politicized manner, and viewed all those amendments as hostile. States including Cuba, Rwanda, the Netherlands, South Africa, and India among others also presented their ideas concerning the draft resolution.