Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Geneva, Switzerland
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Human Rights Council - 25th Regular Session
High Level Panel Discussion on the 65th Anniversary of the Genocide Convention
Australian statement

7 March 2014


Australia welcomes the convening of this High Level Panel Discussion to mark the 65th Anniversary of the Genocide Convention and thanks the panellists for their participation. This discussion is particularly timely given it is the 20th Anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide.

The Genocide Convention was one of the first treaties to be adopted by the newly established United Nations General Assembly. It remains to this day a landmark in the development of international criminal law.

Ending impunity is of vital importance, not only in ensuring justice for the victims of atrocities but in deterring – and preventing – future serious international crimes.

Australia continues to support international and regional efforts to prosecute serious international crimes, including in the Asia-Pacific.

Australia is also a strong supporter of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), which recognises the responsibility we all share to protect vulnerable populations from mass atrocity crimes, including genocide.

One step that all States can take is to appoint their own national Focal Points to coordinate and lead activities at the national level, and work collectively internationally to prevent mass atrocity crimes such as genocide. Australia has had a National Focal Point for R2P since 2011 and has recently joined the “GAAMAC initiative” (Global Action Against Mass Atrocity Crimes) which seeks to bring together R2P and genocide prevention focal point networks.

We would encourage all states to appoint a national representative to join the expanding network of R2P, genocide and atrocity prevention focal points.