GHRD Side Event at Geneva: Mr. Sital's Speech
Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, and advocates for human rights,
Thank you for gathering here today to address an issue that has haunted humanity for far too long. The phrase "Never again" echoes through the corridors of history, a solemn promise made after the horrors of the Holocaust were revealed to the world. Yet, tragically, we find ourselves standing here today, compelled to say, "Still Again and Again."
As we commemorate the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on January 27, 1945, we remember the six million innocent lives that were lost to hatred, prejudice, and indifference. It was a moment when the world declared with unwavering resolve that such atrocities could never be allowed to happen again.
But since that solemn promise was made, the world has witnessed too many instances where the echoes of the past have reverberated in the present. In Bangladesh in 1971, the genocidal "Operation Search Light" left hundreds of thousands to millions dead, and yet, justice remains elusive. None of those responsible have been held accountable.
Experts tell us there have been 37 incidents of genocide since 1945, but today, we focus on some that demand our immediate and universal attention. East Timor, Cambodia, Guatemala, Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur, and more recently, the suffering of the Yazidi people at the hands of ISIS. These are painful reminders that "Never again" must become more than just words.
In 2023, we cannot afford to turn a blind eye to the urgent crises unfolding before us. The genocide against the Yazidi community, the ongoing persecution of Armenians, the plight of minorities in Pakistan, the suffering of the Uyghur population, the relentless conflict in Yemen, and the struggles of the people of Ukraine demand our unwavering attention and action.
It is easy to become disillusioned, to believe that the cycle of violence and hatred is insurmountable. But we must remember that the promise of "Never again" was not an empty one. It was a pledge to uphold the values of humanity, to stand against injustice, and to ensure that genocide becomes a dark chapter closed in history. Today, as representatives of the Global Human Rights Defense (GHRD), we call upon the world community to unite once more. We call for justice, accountability, and for the protection of those who are vulnerable to the horrors of genocide. We must rally behind the victims and survivors, for their pain and suffering must not be in vain.
Let us use the lessons of the past to guide us towards a brighter future, where the phrase "Never again" becomes a reality. Together, we can ensure that the darkness of genocide is banished forever from our world. The time for action is now, and together, we can make the world a safer, more just place for all.