Remarks by the Foreign Minister of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan at the 4th Global Forum "Against the Crime of Genocide"12 December, 2022
Honourable Mr. President,
Honourable Mr. Prime Minister,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I welcome you to the fourth Global Forum "Against the Crime of Genocide" in Yerevan, which this year is dedicated to the prevention of genocides in the era of new technologies. The regular Global Forum organised by Armenia was supposed to be held in December 2020, but unfortunately it became impossible not only due to the pandemic, but, first of all, due to the war unleashed by Azerbaijan against the people of Nagorno-Karabakh.
The consequences of that aggressive war have not been overcome to this day, moreover, in May and November last year and on September 13-14 this year, the sovereign territory of Armenia was attacked by Azerbaijan, resulting in gross violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, including the right to life, prohibition of torture, property, treatment of Prisoners of War..
The Armenian people faced new security threats which have not been addressed to this day. This situation is an outcome of a lengthy process, when the spread of extreme hatred towards Armenians, the consistent development of military capabilities turned into the use of force.
It should be noted that the approach to dealing with foreign policy issues through the use of force, which is manifested by the outbreak of new wars and conflicts in different parts of the world, indicates the crisis of the global security system. It is clear that power has always been an important factor in international relations, but no international system can be solely based on the "Might makes Right" principle as for every strong one, there is an even stronger one and even an eternal war cannot reveal the accurate balance of power.
Without universal norms of peaceful coexistence and international law, without red lines that are not amenable to double standards, the world cannot regain peace and development. It is also obvious that after the current crisis of multilateralism, we need to reassess international relations and find a new consensus for the coexistence of peoples. Today, it might be difficult to predict all the elements of that international consensus but apparently, the inadmissibility of genocides and ethnic cleansing, religious and national discrimination and hatred, as well as their prevention, the protection of human rights, including collective rights, should become one of the pillars of that consensus.
Both an individual person and a nation have the right to life, security, in the truest sense of the word, to live safely, and to control their own destiny, and no one, no power can deprive them of these collective and natural rights.
From this point of view, today and here, the work of this Forum, the presence of all of you, the generation of new ideas for the prevention of genocide are extremely important.
During the last two decades, the international community, represented by the United Nations, has done a great work to create new capacities and mechanisms for the prevention of genocide.
One of the important steps to ensure the prevention of genocide has become the establishment of the position and the Office of the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General on this matter in 2004, which has gained a great experience over the years and many of the documents developed by the Special Adviser have become genocide prevention guidelines for the UN member states. We are grateful to Madame Alice Wairimu Nderitu for her participation in this conference and for her continued cooperation.
Speaking about the structures involved in the genocide prevention, I would like to emphasize that the UN Human Rights Council plays a major role in this matter. I am pleased to note that the President of the Council, Permanent Representative of Argentina to the United Nations Office at Geneva, Ambassador Federico Villegas is with us today.
I would also like to highlight the work of other UN bodies, including Special Procedures, Independent Investigation Mechanisms and Treaty Bodies.
I would like to emphasize the role of the Resolution on the Prevention of Genocide initiated by Armenia and presented once every two years within the framework of the Human Rights Council. The Resolution makes a significant contribution to ensuring the applicability of the provisions of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and forming the relevant normative framework. It is a unique action plan that outlines next steps, further goals and actions in this regard, while drawing attention to risks and challenges. Among such challenges, the Resolution adopted in March 2022 included the use of new technologies and the related risks.
The UN Security Council has its unique place in the prevention agenda, because the use of timely and effective measures by this body can create an efficient opportunity for the prevention of genocides.
I should also mention that the Global Action Against Mass Atrocity Crimes (GAAMAC) alliance, which Armenia has joined as a partner country, is a very effective format of cooperation. This alliance, represented by its Chair, Madame Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, is also with us today. A platform of states, civil society and academic institutions has an aim to fight against mass crimes.
I also express my special gratitude to our permanent partner, the International Association of Genocide Scholars, for their active participation in the work of the Global Forum as well as their permanent support.
The 21st century and the development of information technologies could not fail to affect the Genocide Prevention agenda. Today, we evidence the occurrence of both new challenges and new instruments for the advancement of genocide prevention agenda. Within the framework of the work of this forum, I invite all of you to discuss effective mechanisms to fight against the abuse of current new instruments, as well as to harness their advantages.
In conclusion, I would like to wish all of us an interesting and productive exchange of thoughts. And may there be no more peoples on our planet who will encounter the scourge of genocide.