The world’s disturbing inaction as the Genocide Convention turns 70

This month marks the 70th anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This is a foundational piece of international law that was born out of the mass atrocities committed by the Nazi regime against European Jews during the Second World War.

Despite the passage of time, we can still find inspiration in the example of Raphael Lemkin. After fleeing to the United States when he lost his family to the Holocaust, Lemkin campaigned for the establishment of an international law to define and forbid genocide. When his resolution proposing the Genocide Convention was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, it became the UN’s first human rights treaty.
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Kofi Annan: a complicated legacy of impressive achievements, and some profound failures

Kofi Annan (80) was an important historical figure who played a critical role in many key events of the 1990s and 2000s. His death is therefore an opportunity to both celebrate his life and to begin honestly assessing his contributions to the world.

The Ghanaian diplomat’s legacy is complicated. He served as both head of the United Nations peacekeeping and as Secretary General of the UN. His tenure in these high offices – from 1992 to 2006 – were marked by great human tragedies as well as episodes of progress. His role in these events raises difficult questions about individual responsibility and the role of international organisations and their leaders in creating a more peaceful and just world.
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