AUA Observes International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of Victims of Genocide2 min read
YEREVAN, Armenia — On December 9, the date that marks the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime, the American University of Armenia (AUA) hosted a public lecture by Associate Professor of International Law at the University of Western Australia and President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars Dr. Melanie O’Brien. The speaker focused on freedom of expression and opinion related specifically to the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust, and the Cambodian Genocide.
Focusing on her recently published book, From Discrimination to Death: Genocide Process Through a Human Rights Lens, Dr. O’Brien reviewed how genocidal regimes take control of the media to contain the narrative that is read and heard. She stressed how regimes monopolize the media and use propaganda to incite hatred against targeted minority groups.
Dr. O’Brien shared specific examples of violations of the human rights to freedom of expression and opinion during and after the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust, and the Cambodian Genocide.
In introducing Dr. O’Brien, AUA adjunct lecturer Dr. Suren Manukyan — who teaches courses in General Education and as part of the Genocide Studies and Human Rights minor program, including The Armenian Genocide, The Holocaust, and Comparative Genocide — stressed how important and relevant her recent research is in light of ongoing atrocities and threats of genocide around the world.
In 2015, Armenia initiated a resolution in the United Nations (UN), adopted by consensus, to establish December 9 as the “International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and the Prevention of this Crime.” The day coincides with the date of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the “Genocide Convention”), the first human rights treaty adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948. Every year on this day, events are organized around the world to reaffirm the world’s commitment to “never again” and firm position with respect to the prevention of genocide.
Dr. O’Brien’s presentation was followed by a question-and-answer session, and a thought-provoking discussion with Dr. Armen Marsoobian, professor of philosophy at Southern Connecticut State University and first vice president of the International Association of Genocide Scholars. Dr. Marsoobian elaborated with examples of how the current Azerbaijani regime uses the media to spread hate speech against Armenians.
Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.