Holocaust & Genocide
The Holocaust, Genocide and Mass Atrocity: Universal lessons for their prevention.
THE HOLOCAUST & Genocide
Indifference and inaction always mean coming down on the side of the victimizer, never on the side of the victim. In the face of evil, indifference is acquiescence, if not complicity in evil itself. What makes the Holocaust, and more recently the genocides in Rwanda and in Darfur, so unspeakable is not only the horror of the genocides – which are horrific enough – but that these genocides were preventable. We must reflect upon the lessons of the past – remember the victims and honour the survivors – and its enduring imperatives for the present. The international community cannot be bystanders to such horror – we must act.
UNIVERSAL LESSONS FOR PREVENTING AND COMBATING MASS ATROCITY
The Centre promotes education, awareness, advocacy and action with respect to such universal lessons as:
- The danger of forgetting – the responsibility to remember – le devoir de mémoire;
- The danger of state-sanctioned incitement to hate and genocide – the responsibility to prevent;
- The danger of silence in the face of evil – the responsibility to act;
- The danger of indifference in the face of mass atrocity and genocide – the responsibility to protect
- The danger of impunity – the responsibility to bring war criminals to justice;
- The danger of la trahison des clercs – the betrayal of the elites – the responsibility to speak truth to power;
- The danger of assaults on the vulnerable – the responsibility to intervene – refugee responsibility;
- The danger of genocide denial – the responsibility to repudiate false witness;
- The danger of violence against women – the responsibility to prevent and protect;
- The danger of atrocities against children – the responsibility to prevent and protect;
- The danger of the bystander community – the responsibility to pay tribute to the rescuers;
- The imperative to respect the legacy of survivors of the Holocaust and other genocides;
An important initiative on this theme was an International Legal Symposium to commemorate the “Double Entendre of Nuremberg – the Nuremberg of Hate and the Nuremberg of Justice” – on the occasion of the 80th Anniversary of the coming into effect of the Nuremberg Race Laws and the 70th Anniversary of the Nuremberg Trials. This historic symposium was held at Jagiellonian University in Krakow Poland on May 4th 2016 and was co-sponsored with the University and the International March of the Living.
This major international gathering unanimously adopted the “Never Again Declaration”, a juridical template of lessons learned for the combating of mass atrocity, which underpins the RWCHR's pursuit of justice in that regard.
THE 'NEVER AGAIN' DECLARATION
WHEREAS genocide is the most insidious and destructive threat known to humankind – the ultimate crime against humanity – a horrific and unspeakable act whereby state sanctioned incitement transforms hatred into catastrophe;
WHEREAS the Holocaust manifested genocidal horrors too terrible to be believed but not too terrible to have happened; WHEREAS on December 9, 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the “Genocide Convention”) having now the force of customary international law;
WHEREAS on December 10, 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in the wake of the “barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind;”
WHEREAS the 20th Century which adopted the Genocide Convention – and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – was also the century of multiple preventable genocides and mass atrocities, continuing also into the 21st Century;
WHEREAS indifference and inaction have led to such mass atrocities and genocides; WHEREAS the dangers of genocide and mass atrocity shall never cease unless the lessons of genocides past are both heeded and acted upon;
We, Parliamentarians, Political Leaders and Representatives of Civil Society from around the world, HEREBY AFFIRM:
- Never again will we be indifferent to incitement and hate;
- Never again will we be silent in the face of evil;
- Never again will we indulge racism and antisemitism;
- Never again will we ignore the plight of the vulnerable; and
- Never again will we be indifferent in the face of mass atrocity and impunity.
WE WILL SPEAK UP AND ACT against indifference, against racism, against hate, against antisemitism, against mass atrocity, against injustice, and against the crime of crimes whose name we should even shudder to mention: genocide.
- Download the 'Never Again' Declaration (PDF Format)