St. Paul, Minn. (April 11, 2011) – State Sen. Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, presented a resolution on the Senate floor today to recognize April as Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month.
State Rep. Frank Hornstein, DFL-Minneapolis, is introducing a similar resolution today in the House. The resolution establishes state recognition of the desire to combat all acts of genocide and all human rights atrocities, and it will ensure that Minnesota remains a national and global leader in promoting and protecting human rights.
“Educating the public is a crucial step in preventing future genocides,” said Sen. Pappas. “By declaring April as Genocide Awareness Month, it is my hope that we can help stop genocide atrocities through public awareness while also providing an annual occasion to honor those whose communities have been impacted by genocide.”
Following the Holocaust, on December 9, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly declared genocide to be a crime under international law, and defined genocide to include the commission of certain acts, including killing members of a group, causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of a group, deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about a group’s physical destruction in whole or in part, imposing measures intended to prevent births within a group, and forcibly transferring children of a group to another group, with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group.
“In the 20th century alone, over 200 million people were killed by acts of genocide,” said Dr. Ellen Kennedy, executive director of World Without Genocide at William Mitchell College of Law. “Refugees from the Holocaust and genocides in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, and Darfur live in Minnesota, as do refugees from other brutal conflicts that have targeted innocent civilians. Bringing awareness to the issue can help to protect individual rights and promote a culture of lawfulness that will prevent future genocides.”
Sen. Pappas also recently introduced a bill in the Senate (S.F. 665) on genocide awareness. The bill has been referred to the State Government Innovation and Veterans Committee. Sen. Pappas said she is hopeful the bipartisan bill will receive a hearing before the policy bill deadline at the end of the month. Similar legislation has been introduced in the House.
For additional information, Sen. Pappas may be contacted at 651-296-1802 or [email protected].