Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today stressed that the prevention of genocide is a global responsibility, stating that when States fail to protect their populations, the international community must step in and act.
We all know the principle: each State has the primary responsibility to protect its own people. However, when states require assistance, the international community must be ready to help, " Mr. Ban said in a message to a seminar on A Framework for Genocide Prevention " that was delivered by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe.
And when States manifestly fail to protect their populations, the international community must be ready to take action, " he added.
Mr. Ban emphasized the need to first understand the causes and dynamics of genocide in order to prevent the scourge.
We need to understand what kinds of environments may encourage genocide, and which structural and operational factors can leave a population vulnerable or, alternatively, help to protect it.
We also need to understand the different kinds of measures that can be taken to prevent tensions between groups from escalating into genocidal conflicts, " he said.
Promoting such understanding is one of the main roles of the Office of the Secretary-General`s Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, which was set up in 2004 in recognition of the international community`s collective failure to prevent or stop past genocides.
The Office is tasked by the Security Council with collecting and assessing information on situations that might lead to genocide.
It is also mandated to advise the Secretary-General and, through him, the Security Council and make recommendations to prevent or halt genocide, as well as to liaise with the UN system on preventive measures and enhance the UN`s capacity to analyze and manage information on genocide or related crimes.
The current Special Adviser is Francis Deng of Sudan, who appointed to the post in 2007 by the Secretary-General to succeed Juan Mendez of Argentina.