International communities have been focusing on preventing genocide since the second world war where millions of people were systematically killed. However, the ongoing massacres in the Middle East and Africa bring the question of the effectiveness of these international mechanisms into question.
Two decades ago, more than half a million Rwandans were massacred, until the UN peacekeeping force arrived in the region. In another event in 1992, UN intervention together with the U.S. in Somalia began as a humanitarian action but later turned into a war after militants attacked.
These examples of horrifying events must have taught important lessons to international communities such as the United Nations (UN). However, systematic killing of hundreds of people every day in many places around the world still continue today.
South Sudan, the world’s newest nation, faces descent into civil war. Meanwhile in Syria, the regime still denies the life-saving access the population desperately needs and continues to persecute and kill its own citizens indiscriminately. Meanwhile, thousands of people, mostly Muslims, have been killed amid a sectarian conflict throughout the Central African Republic since last December.
"Our collective failure to prevent atrocities in Syria over the past three years is a shameful indictment of the international community," UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in February.
In 2006, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1674 on protecting civilians, which was the first time the council accepted a set of rules for taking humanitarian action in armed conflicts.
The council also reaffirmed its commitment in Resolution 1894 in 2009, acknowledging the enduring need for the Security Council and Member States to strengthen further the protection of civilians in armed conflict.
Mark Harrison, Communications Manager at Holocaust Memorial Day Trust told Anadolu Agency that the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2002 is a development and a positive step forward by the international community since the Genocide in Rwanda.
“Clearly the establishment of the ICC is not sufficient in itself, as genocide continues,” Harrison said.
Harrison emphasized that there are numerous actions the international community can take to prevent or stop genocide, and said many of these are difficult, controversial or costly.
He said the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMD) is the international organisation to commemorate the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. Harrison stated that for example in the UK, HMD is marked by hundreds of commemorative events in communities across the country.
By marking Holocaust Memorial Day, commemorating the Holocaust, and subsequent genocides such as that in Rwanda, Harrison said the communities try to raise awareness and increase the international pressure on perpetrators of genocide elsewhere in the world.
AALast Mod: 25 Nisan 2014, 00:09