Genocide Awareness Month is observed every year in April to share knowledge of what genocide is, genocides that have happened in the past, and learning about the continuing horrors of genocide today. It might be hard for many of us to understand how something as barbaric as genocide, which we’ve mostly read about it in history books and seen in documentaries, can still be happening today. This month, take a few minutes to remember those who lost their lives to genocide and stand up for those suffering these atrocities today.

History of Genocide Awareness Month

April is observed as Genocide Awareness Month as it is associated with many significant dates related to genocide. The 20th century is often called the “Century of Genocide.” Unfortunately, this trend has continued into the 21st century. Many of these tragic events either started in April or have significant events which happened in April. Some of these include the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust, the Cambodian Genocide, and the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda. And so, the month of April has been chosen to raise awareness on protecting innocent people, prosecuting the tyrants and perpetrators, preventing future atrocities, and also remembering those who have suffered all around the world.Genocide refers to the deliberate and systemic destruction of a group of people because of their ethnicity, nationality, religion, or race, and has been practiced throughout history. According to Thucydides, the Melos people were slaughtered after refusing to surrender to the Athenians during the Peloponnesian War. It was pretty common in ancient times for victors in a war to massacre all the men of a conquered population.Today, governments never openly admit to committing genocidal acts. For example, the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein asserted its use of chemical warfare against the Kurds in the 1980s as part of an effort to reestablish law and order, while the Ottoman and Turkish governments said all the Armenians killed in the massacres were casualties of war. Even Germany’s Nazi regime did not publicize its atrocities against the Jewish people and other groups.Even the recent Darfur genocide in Western Sudan, which refers to the mass slaughter and rape of Darfuri men, women, and children, is being carried out by a group of government-armed and government-funded Arab militias known as the Janjaweed or Rapid Support Forces.

Genocide Awareness Month timeline

1915
Armenia

During World War I, the Armenian subjects of the Ottoman Empire are deported and killed by the Young Turk government.

1943
The Holocaust

The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising begins as a part of the Jewish resistance in Nazi-occupied Poland.

1975
Cambodia

Cambodians are systematically persecuted and killed by the Khmer Rouge under the leadership of the Communist Party of Kampuchea general secretary Pol Pot.

1994
Rwanda

Members of the Tutsi minority ethnic group and some moderate Hutu and Twa are killed by armed militias in the 100 days of slaughter.

2003
Darfur

The Janjaweed systematically destroy Darfuris by burning villages, looting their economic resources, polluting water sources, and murdering and torturing civilians.

Genocide Awareness Month FAQs

What does the Genocide Convention do?

The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, usually called the Genocide Convention, is a law instrument that codifies genocide as a crime under International Law. It was adopted by the General Assembly on December 9, 1948, with over 140 states being party to the convention today.

What constitutes a crime against humanity?

Crimes against humanity refer to certain specific crimes committed in the form of large-scale attacks targeting civilians, regardless of their nationality. These crimes include murder, torture, mass systematic rape, sexual enslavement in a time of war, enslavement, persecution, enforced disappearance, and other inhumane acts.

What is the largest ethnic cleansing in history?

The biggest genocide or ethnic cleansing according to the death toll was the Nazi genocide of Soviet Slavs between 1939 and 1945. The World War II casualties of the Soviet Union from all related causes numbered over 20 million, including both civilians and military. The others include the Holocaust against European Jews, the Ukrainian Genocide, Nazi Holocaust against the Poles, and the Khmer Rouge Killing Fields.

How to Observe Genocide Awareness Month

  1. Show your support

    Pledge to help the millions of people still being persecuted today in any way you can. Consider making donations to organizations like Genocide Watch, the Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, which are working to help those in need.

  2. Honor the fallen

    Pause to think of those who have been treated inhumanely in the past at the hands of evil dictators and tyrants. Also, think of those currently under attack and being persecuted for their identity.

  3. Raise awareness

    Learn more about how genocides develop, what’s happening in the world right now, and how you can help the victims. Spread this information to your friends, family, colleagues, and others by posting about it on your social media and talking about it. You can also consider writing to your local representatives.

5 Disturbing Facts About Genocide

  1. It leads to poverty

    The destruction of lives, resources, and property invariably leads to mass poverty as seen in places like Rwanda and Bosnia & Herzegovina.

  2. It increases crime

    The rise in poverty also leads to more crimes being committed, which can be seen in many developing countries.

  3. It destroys infrastructure

    Electricity, decent roads, and good housing become luxuries for people going through genocide.

  4. It ruins the healthcare system

    Hospitals and clinics naturally get overwhelmed due to less staff and a rise in patients ailing from injuries and diseases, many of which are preventable.

  5. Genocide targets minorities

    It often targets minorities and people who are on the fringes of society or don’t fully integrate with the larger society.

Why Genocide Awareness Month is Important

  1. It raises awareness

    Only by learning more about an issue can we come together to help fix it. We must acknowledge the events that have led up to genocide and dive deep into the problems while making more people aware of it.

  2. It’s still happening

    It’s easy to conjure up black-and-white pictures of people being killed when we think of genocide, but the reality is that millions of people are still being slaughtered today just because of their identity. Do your part for humanity by standing up for those who are being oppressed around the world.

  3. Genocide is preventable

    Preventing genocide is a collective action and has been a concern to the international community since the end of the Second World War. Genocide can be prevented by protecting civilians through U.N. peacekeepers, ending impunity through judicial action, taking swift action through military force gathering information, and setting up early warning systems.

Genocide Awareness Month dates

Year Date Day
2023 April 1 Saturday
2024 April 1 Monday
2025 April 1 Tuesday
2026 April 1 Wednesday
2027 April 1 Thursday
Take Down Tobacco National Day of Action
April Fools' Day
National One Cent Day
International Fun at Work Day
National Sourdough Bread Day
Edible Book Day
Fossil Fools Day
Odisha Day
Tatting Day
Library Snap Shot Day
Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month
Lupus Alert Day
St. Stupid Day
National Fun Day
Nickelodeon Anniversary Celebration Day
Reading is Funny Day
U.S. Air Force Academy Day
Martyrdom of Imam Ali
Boomer Bonus Days
Nature Day
Cyprus National Holiday
White House Easter Egg Roll
Community Garden Week
Assyrian New Year
National Trombone Players Day
Dyngus Day
Myles Day
National Connor Day
National Loyal Day
National Greeting Card Day
U.S. Air Force Academy Day
Investiture of the Captains Regent in San Marino
Logan Paul's Birthday
Rachel Maddow's Birthday
Randy Orton's Birthday
Jonny May's Birthday
Sean Taylor's Birthday
National Window Safety Week
Testicular Cancer Awareness Week
National Public Health Week
Be Kind to Spiders Week
Medication Safety Week
National Bake Week
National Cancer Registrars Week
International Pooper Scooper Week
Laugh at Work Week
National Blue Ribbon Week
Golden Rule Week
Take Your Poet to School Week
Keep America Beautiful Month
Move More Month
National Humor Month
National Soft Pretzel Month
National Soy Foods Month
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month
Scottish American Heritage Month
Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Stress Awareness Month
National Poetry Month
National Welding Month
National Month of Hope
Child Abuse Awareness Month
National Volunteer Month
National Pecan Month
Month of the Military Child
Jazz Appreciation Month
National Internship Awareness Month
Couple Appreciation Month
IBS Month
National Alcohol Awareness Month
National Multiple Birth Awareness Month
National Decorating Month
National Garden Month
Occupational Therapy Month
Records and Information Management Month
Parkinson's Awareness Month
National Fresh Celery Month
Canine Fitness Month
Testicular Cancer Awareness Month
Autism Acceptance Month
Financial Literacy Month
World Landscape Architecture Month
National Car Care Month
Fair Housing Month
Distracted Driving Awareness Month
National Grilled Cheese Month
National Youth Sports Safety Month
Counseling Awareness Month
Straw Hat Month
National Knuckles Down Month
Confederate History Month
Prevent Lyme Disease in Dogs Month
STI Awareness Month
Primary Immunodeficiency Awareness Month
National Garlic Month
Panagyaman Rice Festival
Earth Month
Physical Wellness Month
Filipino Food Month
National Literature Month
Workplace Conflict Awareness Month
National Woodworking Month
Rosacea Awareness Month
Defeat Diabetes Month
National Foot Health Awareness Month
Fresh Florida Tomato Month
National African American Women's Fitness Month
Global Child Nutrition Month
Emotional Overeating Awareness Month
School Library Month
International Amateur Radio Month
Poetic Earth Month
Ridvan Festival (Bahá'i)
Dog Appreciation Month
Brussels Sprouts and Cabbage Month
SunSmart Skin Cancer Prevention
Children and Nature Awareness Month
National Minority Health Month
Bowel Cancer Awareness Month
National Pet First Aid Awareness Month
National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month
Step up for 30 For Bowel Cancer Month
National Adopt a Greyhound Month
National Sjogren's Syndrome Awareness Month
Summer Tire Changeover Month
Parliamentary Law Month
The Fuji Shibazakura Festival
National Kite Month
National Heartworm Awareness Month
National Frog Month
National BLT Sandwich Month
National Social Security Month
International Customer Loyalty Month
National Donate Life Month
Cesarean Awareness Month
National Card and Letter Writing Month
National Safe Digging Month
Pharmacists War on Diabetes Month
Informed Woman Month
Worldwide Bereaved Spouses Awareness Month
Tomatillo and Asian Pear Month
Women's Eye Health and Safety Month
Adopt a Ferret Month
Sarcoidosis Awareness Month
National Financial Capability Month
National Facial Protection Month
Arab American Heritage Month
Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month
Multicultural Communication Month
Grange Month
National Pest Management Month
Global Astronomy Month
Cancer Control Month
Genocide Awareness Month
National Rebuilding Month
National Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD)'s Education and Awareness Month
Celebrate Diversity Month
International Guitar Month
National Food Month