Didier Reynders opens the International Conference on Genocide Prevention in Brussels

date: 31 March 2014

BRUSSELS, 31 March 2014 - At the initiative of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Belgium is holding an International Conference on Genocide Prevention in Brussels, today and tomorrow. This is done in cooperation with the African Union, the European Union and the United Nations. Representatives of more than 100 States and International Organizations participate. The Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, will close the works on Tuesday.

The Chair of the Conference, Didier Reynders, declared in his opening remarks: "The number and the level of the delegations represented at this two-day conference demonstrate the importance of this thematic and the necessity to put it on the political agenda".

More than 500 participants from over the world will discuss ways and means to rid mankind of the scourge of mass atrocities and genocides, 65 years after the adoption of the “UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide” (1948). Academics, legal experts, representatives of civil society and parliaments will work to reach understanding on early and systematic information about risk situations. They will make proposals to the participating States, Regional Organizations and the United Nations. How to diffuse risk situations? How to stop incitements to violence before they spiral out of control into senseless bloodshed and mass atrocities? With which legal instruments and through which political action?

Minister Reynders said: "Let's now turn our engagement  into concrete deeds in order to prevent genocide -and even better- outlaw it". All participants will vividly be reminded of the lessons of the shoah, the 1995 Srebrenica genocide and the 1994 genocide in Rwanda -the conference is organized on the occasion of its twentieth anniversary-. "We owe it to the memory of those who have been victim of mass atrocities and genocides. It is our duty towards future generations so as to avoid future genocides", said Didier Reynders.

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