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Preventing Mass Atrocities is a Shared Moral Responsibility of all Peoples and Countries around the World
March 7, 2014

High Level Panel discussion on the sixty-fifth anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide

March 7, 2014

As delivered by David Sullivan

Thank you, Mr. President.

And thank you to America for your hard work on the genocide prevention resolution that paved the way for this high-level discussion. At the beginning of the 21st century, it is tragic that we continue to see campaigns of harassment and violence against groups of people in many parts of the world based on their national, ethnic, racial, or religious back grounds. As we now gather to honor the sixty-fifth Anniversary of the General Assembly’s adoption of the Genocide Convention and we prepare for the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, we continue to face the reality or the looming risk of mass atrocities in countries around the world. In Syria, the government is persecuting and killing its own people.  In the Central African Republic, a sense of impunity reigns as communities that have long lived in peaceful co-existence now fear their former neighbors.  And in the world’s newest nation of South Sudan, a political dispute quickly flared into a larger conflagration, with reports of killings committed by government and opposition forces along ethnic lines.

As we take stock of the situation today, there are reasons to be sober and humble about the challenges that face us – but there are also reasons to take note of the progress the international community has made in strengthening our ability to prevent and respond to atrocities.

The United States remains committed to doing everything we can to help prevent mass atrocities.  We continue to believe that prevention is a shared moral responsibility of all peoples and countries around the world.  We must all commit to work together to turn our promise of “never again” into a reality.

Thank you.