Didier Reynders concluded the Brussels Genocide Prevention Conference today
BRUSSELS, 1 APRIL 2014 - At the initiative of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belgium, Didier Reynders, an international conference was convened in Brussels on 31 March and on 1 April 2014 to determine ways and means to rid mankind of the scourge of genocides, the most serious violation of international humanitarian and human rights law. This was organized in cooperation with the African Union, the European Union and the United Nations.
Over 500 participants, representing 125 States, Regional and International Organizations, as well as academics, legal experts, representatives of civil society and parliamentarians reached understanding on substantive elements and operational measures to go beyond the slogan “Never Again”, to avert the spiral leading to mass atrocities.
In his closing statement, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that “victims are better honored by our efforts in prevention and protection. We progressed in the implementation of these responsibilities. The UN engaged in a review of the way it has treated these questions.” He added reminded that it is the governments’ duty to take their fundamental responsibilities. It is only if they fail to do so that the community of nations has to intervene.
Summarizing the Conference, Minister Reynders said participants stressed their strong resolve to:
- become parties to international legal instruments, in particular the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the Statute of Rome;
- implement the Responsibility to Protect;
- promote and protect the fundamental rights of all populations, including minorities, irrespective of their nationality, ethnicity, race or religion;
- establish, in conjunction with the Focal Points for Responsibility to Protect, national Focal Points on Genocide Prevention to monitor information and duly inform the national competent authorities;
- take necessary measures to prevent genocide –as it is their obligation- including by bringing such situations to the attention of the Security Council.
The Chair’s conclusions of the Brussels Conference on Genocide Prevention are available on www.genocideprevention.be/documents.