Today, December 9, 2015, marks the first International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of Victims of the Crime of Genocide and Prevention of this Crime, per a resolution adopted by the United Nations. It is the 67th anniversary of the United Nations Genocide Convention that was passed on this day in 1948, and this day will now serve to commemorate victims of genocide and be a source of motivation to create a world in which this crime no longer occurs.
This resolution, sponsored by the Government of Armenia, will give voice to victims of genocide, raise awareness of genocides globally, and emphasize the importance of striving for prevention. The International Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (A Division of the Zoryan Institute) (IIGHRS) continues to make great strides in genocide education and awareness, not only by bringing to light the Armenian Genocide of 1915 – seen as the archetype of genocides as defined by Raphael Lemkin – but also by defending universal human rights internationally. In the spirit of today’s commemoration at the UN, the Zoryan Institute has released a joint statement in partnership with two Turkish human rights organizations, the Human Rights Association of Turkey and the Truth Justice Memory Centre, to combat the racial hatred and discrimination that genocide denial propagates.
This coalition has laid the groundwork for future partnerships in challenging anti-Armenian Genocide denial and hate speech. This collaboration represents solidarity between Armenian Turkish human rights organizations, and sends an important message to the international community. Promoting human rights and combatting genocide denial should not have any boundaries, and with that in mind, the three organizations have come together to issue their statement. It is our hope that the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of Victims of the Crime of Genocide and Prevention of this Crime will help bring a sense of justice to the victims of genocide and their descendants.
We also hope that everyone’s efforts, through education and awareness, will help to create a world free of genocide. Therefore, on this somber occasion, we call on people of all national, ethnic, racial and religious groups to work together and support all efforts, particularly that of education, to combat genocide and its denial universally.