Last Friday, January 27, it was designated by the United Nations General Assembly as an International Holocaust.
Remembrance Day (IHRD). Since 2005, the UN and its member states have held commemoration ceremonies to mark the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and to honor the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism.
The purpose of International Holocaust Remembrance Day is twofold: to serve as the date for the official commemoration of the victims of the Nazi regime and to promote education about the Holocaust around the world. Since 2010, the UN has designated specific themes for annual commemorations that focus on issues such as collective experiences and universal human rights. In addition to Holocaust Day, many countries hold national commemoration ceremonies on other Holocaust-related dates.
Resolution 60/7 not only establishes January 27 as “International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust”, but also rejects any form of Holocaust denial. Drawing on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the resolution condemns all forms of “religious intolerance, incitement, harassment or violence against individuals or communities based on ethnic origin or religious beliefs” throughout the world.
The first commemoration ceremony was held on January 27, 2006 at the UN headquarters in New York City. Each celebration has a specific theme. The 2022 theme was “Memory, Dignity and Justice”. He explored how preserving the historical record and challenging distortion are elements of demanding justice. However, the theme for 2023 is “Home and Belonging”. Reflect on what these concepts meant for people persecuted during the Holocaust and after.
The Holocaust, like genocide, is the deliberate and systematic destruction of a group of people because of their ethnicity, nationality, religion, or race. Genocide has been practiced throughout history. In Bosnia-Herzegovina, conflict between the three main ethnic groups, Serbs, Croats and Muslims, resulted in a genocide committed by Serbs against Bosnian Muslims. In the late 1980s, a Serb named Slobodan Milosevic came to power. Acts of “ethnic cleansing” began in 1992 in Bosnia, a majority Muslim country where the Serb minority made up only 32% of the population.
In 2003, violence and destruction broke out in the Darfur region of western Sudan. Government-sponsored militias known as the Janjaweed carried out a calculated campaign of killing, rape, starvation and displacement in Darfur. An estimated 400,000 people died as a result of violence, starvation and disease. More than 2.5 million people were displaced from their homes and more than 200,000 fled across the border into Chad. The then US Congress and former US President George W. Bush recognized the situation in Darfur as “genocide”.
Beginning on April 6, 1994, ethnic Hutu groups, armed mostly with machetes, began a campaign of terror and bloodshed that involved the Central African country of Rwanda. For about 100 days, Hutu militias continued a premeditated attempt to exterminate the country’s ethnic Tutsi population. The killings only ended after armed Tutsi rebels, invading from neighboring countries, managed to defeat the Hutu and halt the genocide in July 1994. By then, more than a tenth of the population, some 800,000 people, had been killed. murdered.
Between 1975 and 1979, Pol Pot led the Khmer Rouge political party in a reign of violence, fear and brutality in Cambodia. An attempt to form a communist peasant agricultural society resulted in the death of 25% of the population from starvation, overwork, and executions. By 1975, the US had withdrawn its troops from Vietnam and Cambodia lost US military support. Seizing this opportunity, Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge seized control of Cambodia and murdered intellectuals, former government officials, and Buddhist monks.
There have been a number of dastardly acts suggesting ethnic cleansing in Nigeria. Kaduna is increasingly the epicenter of violence, rivaling Borno state, Boko Haram territory. Kaduna has long been a site of political, ethnic and religious violence. The city has undergone ethnic “cleansing”, with Christians now concentrated in the south and Muslims in the north. Since the end of military rule, Kaduna has witnessed election-related violence that escalated into ethnic and religious bloodshed.
Increasing attacks by armed Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria have reportedly left villages formerly occupied by Christian farmers devastated. The attacks propose “an agenda of ethnic cleansing” in the country. They have become so frequent that some families have suffered multiple displacements. Fulani herdsmen are systematically killing local people and occupying their territories. The murders have a religious motive behind them. The Fulani killers are Muslims, and the conquest of territory is paramount for the country’s large Muslim populations.
Many other states in Nigeria, especially in the south-eastern region of the country, Makurdi, Gboko, Otukpo and Katsina-Ala in Benue State, including Ogun State, Cross River, Ebonyi, Imo and Anambra, continue to experience attacks by Fulani militants. . Thousands of lives have been lost, property destroyed and communities left in disarray, with an internally displaced population numbering over a million in Benue State alone, to say the least.
President Muhammadu Buhari must personally lead peace resolution efforts based on bilateral and multinational approaches to end unnecessary ethnic and religiously motivated killings and armed violence in many parts of the country. If the violence continues unchecked, Nigeria may fall into a death camp where the government and security agencies will become increasingly powerless.
While the responsibility to protect populations against genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity rests primarily with individual States, the principle also underscores the responsibility of the international community to take collective action, to timely and decisive manner, to protect populations. of those crimes when States manifestly fail to comply with their responsibilities. There is a need for a collective response that protects populations, either by halting the escalation of ongoing atrocities or by accelerating or bringing about an end to them.
Being able to recognize the signs of genocide is only the first part of how to stop crime. It is also important to act when any of these steps are underway to prevent progression to full-blown mass killing. Genocide usually takes place in times of war, so to avoid a massacre it is essential to find the causes. Many conflicts arise from racism, intolerance, discrimination, dehumanization and hatred towards others. Addressing these problems should be a primary goal because it can prevent armed conflict.