In a world marred by the shadows of injustice and cruelty, the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime serves as a stark reminder of our collective responsibility to safeguard the fundamental human rights that weave the fabric of our shared existence.
At Freedom United, we stand at the forefront of the fight against modern slavery. As we commemorate this day, our focus extends beyond the specific instances of atrocity, urging a contemplation on the very essence of humanity—the inherent right to life, dignity, and freedom.
In the midst of current global turmoil, there is an urgency to proactively address the root causes of genocide. A concerning upswing in anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic prejudice, racial animosity, and xenophobic sentiments are sweeping across the globe. It becomes crucial in this context to recognize that the gravest epochs in our collective history, such as the Holocaust, the genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, and Srebrenica, and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, did not just happen suddenly in a vacuum. Rather, they were presaged by systemic discrimination, the propagation of hate, incitement to violence, and the dehumanization of marginalized groups.
To get to the heart of some of the most despicable examples of treatment of human by human in our time, we must talk about the perilous tendency to view some people as “others,” stripping them of their humanity. Systemic “othering” and deep-set societal norms of discrimination render the worst acts, including extreme exploitation and genocide, “permissible.” That’s why one can’t address modern slavery without tackling racial injustice and power imbalances.
At Freedom United, we believe every life holds inherent value, and the right to live free from fear is a birthright, not a privilege. We believe that the dignity of every individual is non-negotiable. It doesn’t matter what religion you practice, what the color of your skin is, what citizenship you hold, what your job is, or whether you’ve been convicted of a crime. It certainly doesn’t matter if your death or exploitation is a pathway to military victory or extremely profitable. The dignity of every individual is non-negotiable.
Let us pay tribute to the victims of this egregious crime by remembering their suffering and by recommitting to equality and prevention, not only in our words but in our actions. Today, governments and businesses alike have the means to help end ongoing crimes against humanity, including cultural genocide, against the Uyghur people by passing strict forced labor regulation that does not reward the production of forced labor goods and cutting ties with the Uyghur Region.
Freedom United stands with the oppressed, the persecuted, the people fearful for their lives and their loved ones everywhere but today, especially, with those actively facing the brutality of persecution today, including in Gaza, Darfur, the Congo, the Uyghur Region, and elsewhere. There is still an opportunity to prevent the worst from happening if better senses would prevail and the violence was ended immediately.
Let us strive to break the cycle of indifference and rewrite the narrative of our shared humanity.
Together, we can sow the seeds of understanding, fostering a world where the rights to life, dignity, and freedom flourish for all.