International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime
As the world commemorates the International Day of the Victims of Genocide on December 9, we solemnly reflect on the profound impact of genocide on countless individuals and communities. This day serves as a poignant reminder of the need for global solidarity and action to prevent such atrocities and to support the survivors in their journey towards healing and justice. We recognize the impact and stand with the victims of the genocide committed during the Second World War, the Holocaust. Given the relevance of more recent events and the contemporary era, there are other situations that warrant acknowledgement.
Remembering the Victims:
Cambodian genocide (1975)
- In 1975, the leaders of the Khmer Rouge achieved power, and although it only lasted for 4 years, its impact persists to this day. This regime caused over 2 million deaths, some of them from execution and others reminiscent of the Holocaust, from diseases that originated from being held at concentration camps. Even defined as an “auto-genocide”, the leaders of the regime would target anybody who would oppose their ideas for Cambodia without making further distinctions. Ultimately, the gravity of the situation is reflected in the fact that, during this short time, Cambodia’s population decreased between 21% and 24%, eliminating generations of Cambodian families still trying to rebuild their country.
Rwandan Genocide (1994):
- In 1994, the Rwandan Genocide left an indelible mark on the lives of the victims, primarily the Tutsi ethnic group. Families were torn apart, and individuals faced unimaginable violence, including mass killings, sexual assault, and torture. The aftermath created a complex web of social and economic challenges, with many survivors continuing to grapple with psychological and emotional scars.
Bosnian Genocide (1995)
- The Srebrenica massacre opened a wound still latent to this day due to the implications of this event. In the 90s, the United Nations was heavily involved in peacekeeping operations in the former Yugoslavia, and Srebrenica was the first ever UN-declared safe area. This did not prevent the Army of the Republika Srpska from killing over 8000 Bosniak Muslim men and boys, which was declared the worst atrocity on European soil since the Holocaust.
Darfur Genocide (2003–2008):
- The Darfur Genocide in Sudan targeted non-Arab ethnic groups, resulting in mass displacement and widespread atrocities, including sexual violence and killings. The humanitarian crisis left victims facing severe food and medical shortages, exacerbating their suffering. The impact on survivors includes psychological trauma, loss of livelihoods, and challenges in rebuilding their lives.
Sinjar massacre (2014)
- The Yazidi is an Iraqi ethnic and religious minority who, in 2014, was the victim of a genocidal campaign from Daesh/ISIL as part of their 2014 Northern Iraq offensive. The purpose was to displace the Yazidis from strategic territories and to replace this population with people who showed more obedience to their regime. Over 50.000 Yazidis fled to the Sinjar mountains, where they were subjects of a siege until they were liberated due to the involvement of the international community. Significant progress has been made, and many Yazidis have been able to return to their land and their homes, but there is still much more to do to return to how they were before and to ensure their safety.
Myanmar (Rohingya Crisis):
- The Rohingya crisis in Myanmar, particularly in 2017, resulted in widespread atrocities against the Rohingya Muslim minority. Victims faced indiscriminate killings, sexual violence, and the burning of villages. The crisis led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya, including children, who endured harrowing journeys to escape the violence. Families were separated, and individuals now live in overcrowded and inadequate conditions in refugee camps, struggling with the trauma of their experiences.
Uyghur Genocide in China:
- The Uyghur Genocide in Xinjiang has profoundly affected the Uyghur Muslim minority. Reports suggest mass arbitrary detentions, forced labour, and attempts to erase Uyghur cultural and religious identity. Families have been separated, with individuals detained in camps facing harsh conditions. The psychological and emotional toll on Uyghur communities is immense, and the fear of persecution has led some individuals to seek refuge in other countries.
Our Commitment to Prevention:
The International Day of the Victims of Genocide underscores the urgent need to prevent future atrocities. Broken Chalk remains steadfast in advocating for human rights, justice, and accountability. We call on governments, civil society, and individuals to unite in the pursuit of a world where no one suffers the devastating consequences of genocide.
As we reflect on the past nine years, we celebrate the progress achieved while acknowledging the needs that continue to burden those affected.
Press Release Issued with Respect from Broken Chalk