On 17 October 2022, the International Development Committee, a cross-party parliamentary committee, published its report following an inquiry into the United Kingdom’s role in atrocity prevention internationally. The report considers how the UK’s approach to atrocity prevention could be improved and makes several recommendations for the UK Government to follow.
Commenting upon the report, the Chair of the International Development Committee, Sarah Champion MP, said:
‘The last decade has seen terrifying scenes in China, Ethiopia, Syria and Myanmar – to name just a few – and has shown clearly that atrocities don’t only happen in conflict settings. The deep divisions at the top of the United Nations mean we are living in what appears to be an era of impunity when it comes to persecution, segregation and abuse of civilians. The UK is perhaps uniquely placed to be the ‘world’s canary’ when it comes to alerting others around the world of possible atrocities. We have a network of embassies and a strong reputation for acting within the rule of law. We should train and support our Ambassadors to spot the danger signs that could lead to atrocities. That means looking out for hate speech or laws that marginalise or segregate certain groups from society. We can and must focus the international community’s attention to de-escalate these situations.’
The Committee stated that UK’s new strategy must:
- give greater priority to preventing atrocities by addressing this issue at the highest level of government, within the UK’s recently-created Foreign Policy and Security Council;
- allocate appropriate funds and staff to the new atrocity prevention team in the Foreign Office;
- ensure that our diplomats abroad are getting the training and support they need to recognise and act on warning signs; and
- re-assess whether enough UK aid is reaching countries at risk of atrocities.
The full report can be read here:
The Coalition for Genocide Response and Dr Ewelina Ochab made submissions to the inquiry. Both can be found here: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/1661/promoting-dialogue-and-preventing-atrocities-the-uk-government-approach/publications/