Comment by the Deputy Foreign Minister Artak Apitonyan on the Resolution on the Prevention of Genocide adopted at the session of the UN Human Rights Council

22 June, 2020

Today the 43rd session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva adopted the Resolution on Prevention of Genocide, sponsored by Armenia. This is one of the important commitments of the Government of Armenia in the international agenda, which we have been regularly presenting to the international community for about 20 years.

The resolution was co-sponsored by 58 countries, including from all 5 regions; all EU member-states, other European countries, as well as countries from Asia, Africa, Central and Latin America, Australia and Canada. Such a large-scale support proves the importance that the international community gives to the prevention agenda.

The resolution once again calls for particular attention to the massive human rights violations, as it is a well-known fact that the massive violations with ethnic, religious and other components can lead to genocides in the future. The resolution once again promotes the close contacts between the UN Secretary General, Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocides, UN Human Rights agencies and Special Procedures of Human Rights Monitoring Bodies, as an important factor for strengthening early prevention measures.

Several updates have been made in the Resolution this year; including the emphasis on the important role of the civil society in the genocide prevention agenda. The prevention of violence against women and girls is particularly underscored as an important part of the genocide prevention. It’s no secret that violence against them during genocide is a component of actions. Another update refers to the importance of preserving monuments and memorials, as an important issue for the prevention of genocides and the transfer of memories.

The Resolution attaches importance to the fight against denial, and particularly the denial and justification of past genocides is a factor which contributes to the resumption of violence. One of the most important characteristics of the Resolution is the need for special practical steps for preventing genocides, which should consolide the efforts of the international community to prevent that horrible crime from happening again.

I would like to express my special gratitude to all the countries that support our efforts. I would also like to thank the team of the Foreign Ministry which contributed to the successful adoption of this resolution. Special thanks to Andranik Hovhannisyan, the Permanent Representative of Armenia to the UN Office in Geneva, the Deputy Permanent Representative Nairi Petrosyan and the entire staff of the embassy for professionally negotiating the Resolution and successfully completing the adoption process. I want to thank the staff of the Foreign Ministry’s department of Human Rights, the Head of the department Karine Sujayan, the Heads of the divisions Christine Mehrabekjana and Hasmik Simonyan. Special Thanks to the Advisors to the Foreign Minister Marta Ayvazyan and Vahe Gevorgyan. In my opinion, teamwork brings great results. This is a new and qualitatively different step. The Resolution is updated by one third, and it brings a number of new components for strengthening the genocide prevention agenda.

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