Georgia State Resolution

February 24, 2015

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Senate Resolution 361

By: Senators Parent of the 42nd, Shafer of the 48th, Henson of the 41st, Miller of the 49th, Unterman of the 45th and others


Recognizing the month of April, 2015, as Genocide Prevention and Awareness Month at the capitol; and for other purposes.

WHEREAS, the goal of Genocide Prevention and Awareness Month is to educate the public about the history of previous and contemporary genocides; how to advocate against future genocides; to focus attention on the specter of genocide so that policies, strategies, and programs geared towards combating the evils of genocide can be developed; and to commemorate the victims of genocide; and

WHEREAS, during World War II, a Polish lawyer of Jewish decent, Raphael Lemkin, coined the term "genocide" to describe the coordinated plan of actions aimed at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of certain groups with the aim of annihilating a group itself by disintegrating a group's social institutions, culture, language, national or ethnic identities, religion, and economic existence, while also destroying the personal security, liberty, health, and dignity, as well as the lives, of individuals belonging to the group; and

WHEREAS, throughout history, numerous genocides originated or stemmed from events that occurred in April, and as a result, many institutions around the world have designated April to be a month of genocide prevention and awareness; and

WHEREAS, when coining the term "genocide," Raphael Lemkin was moved to investigate the forced assimilation, deportation, and near complete eradication of the Armenian population beginning in April 1915; prompting Adolf Hitler to remark in 1939, "Who after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"; and

WHEREAS, this April marks the 100th anniversary of the Armenian (and other Christian communities') Genocide during the time of the Ottoman Empire; and

WHEREAS, in April of 1933, the Nazis issued a decree preparing the way for the "Final Solution" defining non-Aryans as "anyone descended from non-Aryan, especially Jewish, parents or grandparents"; and

WHEREAS, 2015 marks the 40th anniversary of the Cambodian genocide, where in April of 1975, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge took power in Cambodia, conducting wide-spread killings of people belonging to specific groups, as well as an involuntary relocation of all city dwellers to the countryside for forced labor in squalid conditions, resulting in famine and starvation which turned the countryside into killing fields; these acts resulted in the deaths of two million people; and

WHEREAS, 2015 marks the 20th anniversary of the 1992-1995 siege of Sarajevo, Srebrenica, and other cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which ultimately led to the deaths of more than 200,000 Bosniaks, or Bosnian Muslims; and

WHEREAS, the Al-Anfal Campaign (1984-1988), under the leadership of Saddam Hussein, sought to destroy and depopulate the Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq and notoriously used chemical weapons to this end, which caused the death of over 180,000 Kurds and others, the destruction of over 4,500 villages (90 percent of villages in the region), and resulted in creating millions of refugees and internally displaced persons; and

WHEREAS, in April of 1994, the Rwandan president's airplane was shot down, which led to the slaying of 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus by the Interhamwe over the next three months; and

WHEREAS, in April of 2003, the displacement and killing of Darfurians began by the Government of Sudan and led to hundreds of thousands of deaths and the displacement of millions which continues unabated today; and

WHEREAS, the so-called Islamic State (ISIS/L) has forcefully caused the civilian population of the Ezidi-Kurdish religious minority in Iraq and Syria, beginning in 2014 through the present day, to flee from their ancestral towns, villages, and holy sites as a result of forced conversion, killing, kidnaping, and enslaving of their population -- particularly women and children and according to their records, this is the 74th genocide throughout the population's history; and

WHEREAS, the Genocide Prevention Task Force released its report on December of 2008 to spotlight genocide prevention as a national priority; and

WHEREAS, in 2011 the President of the United States declared the prevention of mass atrocities and genocide to be a "core national security interest and core moral responsibility" of the United States and ordered the creation of the Atrocities Prevention Board in 2012; and

WHEREAS, the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust is a state agency whose mission is to use the lessons of the Holocaust to educate the citizens of Georgia on the consequences of unchecked hate and the need for social justice, and to encourage strong moral character and citizenship; and

WHEREAS, the Georgia Coalition to Prevent Genocide operates as a proactive group with a mission to develop a permanent anti-genocide constituency in Georgia, and it depends on citizen support to engage elected officials at the state and national levels through advocacy and action and by creating awareness within the community; and

WHEREAS, it is abundantly fitting and proper to recognize the contributions of the Georgia Coalition to Prevent Genocide, Eternal-Life Hemshech of Holocaust Survivors, the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust, The Jewish Community Relations Council of Atlanta, The National Center for Civil and Human Rights, The American Jewish Committee Atlanta Regional Office, and ACCESS Atlanta in their efforts to enhance the security and dignity of minority populations across the globe.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE that the members of this body recognize the month of April, 2015, as Genocide Prevention and Awareness Month at the capitol and commend the Georgia Coalition to Prevent Genocide for its dedicated efforts in preventing genocide.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Secretary of the Senate is authorized and directed to make appropriate copies of this resolution available for distribution to the Georgia Coalition to Prevent Genocide.