Remembering not to forget, acting not to repeat


The EU marks the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime. Paying homage to the victims will always be needed to acknowledge their suffering, and also to remind us of what we must collectively defend to prevent it from happening again.

Humanity is capable of great feats. Building communities and expressing solidarity is vital to ensure our survival and to respect universal values. That hasn’t always been the case. Our collective history can show how destructive Humanity can be when the difference is not seen as a source of social and cultural enrichment, but rather a threat.

The hideous crimes committed during the Second World War, in the last century, remain as part of our common remembrance of what can never happen again. And saying never again we did. It is in 1948 that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is approved, expressing not only a philosophical but also a political interest in abiding by indivisible rights of the human condition.

High Representative/Vice President Josep Borrell highlights how the Nuremberg trials paved the way for the adoption of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide by the United Nations on 9 December 1948, the anniversary of which we commemorate today. The Convention adds genocide as a crime prohibited under international law, which all States are bound to respect.

The dark history has repeated itself since then, revealing the need for continuously working to prevent the practice of this terror.

The EU has made unequivocally clear the condemnation of any expression of acts that aim to attack or even destroy particular nations or groups. It is represented in the strong support to the International Criminal Court (ICC), the world’s only permanent court for the investigation and prosecution of the most heinous crimes.

“We owe it to the victims and to ourselves: only by acknowledging the atrocities of the past and by fighting violations when they occur we can build a better future” highlights High Representative Josep Borrell.

It is this clear conscience of collective responsibility to protect that the EU defends: not only the most vulnerable groups but also the respect for the rights of each and every one. As a concrete example, the support provided to the Responsibility to Protect takes an important role in the EU’s foreign and security policy.

More than ever, time has shown us how fragile the entire Humanity can be, and how we can all be affected by the same threats, regardless of our differences. International collaboration has been essential to find solutions and it will be in the future, so it is the respect for our differences and the continuous combat to maintain the heinous crime of genocide as a dark chapter in our history.

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