INTERNATIONAL DAY OF COMMEMORATION AND DIGNITY OF THE VICTIMS OF THE CRIME OF GENOCIDE
Each year on December 9th, the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime seeks to raise awareness of the Genocide Convention. It’s also a day to commemorate and honor the victims of genocide.
Unfortunately, our history is tainted by people or organizations that have attempted to wipe out large groups of people. These groups of people have included entire races and nations. This is known as genocide. One of the most infamous occurrences of genocide happened when Nazi Germany killed 6 million Jews during the Holocaust. But along with Jews, the Nazis attempted to wipe out other groups of people as well. These included disabled people, homosexuals, and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Altogether, 11 million people were killed.
Some of the most recent genocides in history include:
- 2017 – The Burmese Military killed up to 43,000 Rohingya people in Myanmar (also known as Burma)
- 2014 – The Islamic State of Iraq killed 10,000 Yazidis in northern Iraq and Syria
- 2003 – Three Sudanese tribes in Darfur killed 500,000 people
- 1994 – A mass slaughter of over one million Tutsi people occurred in Rwanda
The UN states that understanding the root causes behind genocide is essential to prevent it from happening. Genocide usually results based on identity. It typically occurs where there are diverse racial, ethnic, or religious groups that are engaged in identity-based conflicts. There are usually differences between the groups in conflict. These differences include access to power and wealth, development opportunities, and employment. Because no country is perfectly homogenous, genocide remains a global challenge.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Each year on this day, the UN hosts a special commemoration event. Presentations and testimonies by genocide survivors are given. Special recognition is given to those who have developed initiatives contributing to the prevention of genocide and related crimes.
- Never condone hate crimes or hate speech against other groups of people
- Teach your children and other youth to always show kindness instead of hate
- Learn about genocides in history and think about what could have been done to prevent them
- Watch movies about genocide including Hotel Rwanda, Schindler’s List, and The Killing Fields
Use #PreventGenocide while posting about this day on social media.
In September 2015, the UN General Assembly established December 9th as the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime. December 9th recognizes the anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This is also known as The Genocide Convention, which occurred on this date in 1948. The Genocide Convention is an international law instrument that, for the first time in history, codified genocide as a crime.