New York, 27 March 2019 – The Permanent Mission of Rwanda to the United Nations and the World Jewish Congress on Tuesday honored Father Patrick Desbois with the first Raphael Lemkin Award for exemplary work in the fight against genocide in honor of his dedication to investigating and exposing crimes of genocide around the world.
Father Desbois is the founder and president of Yahad–In Unum, a global humanitarian organization established in 2004 with the goal of identifying and commemorating the sites of Jewish and Roma mass executions in Eastern Europe during World War II. The award ceremony took place at the UN headquarters in New York at a special event in memory of Raphael Lemkin, the Polish-Jewish lawyer and refugee who coined the term “genocide” and initiated the Genocide Convention 70 years ago.
Ambassador Valentine Rugwabiza, the Permanent Representative of Rwanda to the United Nations honored Lemkin’s legacy, saying, “his passion, his belief in humanity, and his commitment should serve as an inspiration to us all”. She also praised Father Desbois, saying, “I can’t think of a more deserving awardee for the first Raphael Lemkin Award than you. By reminding us all there is no genocide without the participation of neighbors, it means that there is also no prevention of genocide without the active involvement of neighbors. Let us all strive, on the individual level and in groups, to be that neighbor that does not stand by. Let’s strive to be that neighbor that will take a stance.”
Read more and watch the video of the full event here