IAGS Adopts A Resolution Recognising Declaring the Rohingya Persecution A Crime of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity

On 21 April 2020, the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) adopted a resolution declaring the Rohingya persecution a crime of genocide and crimes against humanity.

Ewelina Ochab, our co-fouder and member of IAGS, said: ‘This is an important step to recognise the suffering of the targeted communities and the first step towards justice for the victims and survivors. Atrocities of this magnitude have to be recognised for what they are. Such a determination of the atrocities against the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar as genocide or crimes against humanity should be done by states and international actors too. Actions must follow as well: to stop the atrocities, investigate and prosecute the perpetrators, assist the victims and survivors, and ensure that such atrocities will never again happen.’

The text of the resolution is as follows:

Resolution to Declare the Rohingya Persecution a Crime of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity

• WHEREAS, Myanmar has a long history of discrimination against the Rohingya People based on their identity and religious beliefs, which has resulted in the government denying them citizenship in the 1982 Citizenship Act, as well as birth certificates and full political participation, and thus restricting their rights to freedom of movement; of access to food, health care, livelihood, and education; among others;

• WHEREAS, discriminatory policies against this specific group have also included population control such as household registration, marriage permissions, and birth restrictions; forced labour; arbitrary arrest; extortion and confiscation; and sexual and gender-based violence;

• WHEREAS, the abovementioned oppressive policies had the purpose of systematically “othering” the Rohingya People in the Myanmar nation with a clear exclusionist objective;

• WHEREAS, since 2012 attacks by Buddhist extremist groups on Rohingya villages in the Rakhine State have been reported, reaching a peak in October 2016, when thousands of Rohingya fled to Bangladesh due to violence and military operations;

• WHEREAS, following attacks in August 2017 by a small extremist group—known as ARSA or Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army—claiming to defend the rights of the Rohingya community, on several police check post in the North Rakhina State, the Tatmadaw, Myanmar’s military force, launched disproportionate widespread attacks— called by authorities “clearance operations” —on the civilian Rohingya population, causing large-scale death, displacement, and other atrocities;

• WHEREAS, since 25 August 2017 more than 800,000 Rohingya people have fled their homeland in Rakhine State to the southern part of Bangladesh, due to general violence and persecution by the State;

• WHEREAS, on September 2017 the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights stated that the persecution against Rohingya is a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”;

• WHEREAS, the Permanent People’s Tribunal on “State Crimes Allegedly Committed in Myanmar against the Rohingya, Kachins and Other Groups,” held in 2017, found that the mass killing, rape, and other atrocities taking place in the Rakhine State constitute genocide and crimes against humanity;

• WHEREAS, according to the findings and recommendations of the 15-month Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar—established by UN Human Rights Council Resolution 34/22—presented in a September 2018 report that the Tatmadaw “[d]uring their operations […] has systematically targeted civilians, including women and children, committed sexual violence, voiced and promoted exclusionary and discriminatory rhetoric against minorities, and established a climate of impunity for its soldiers”;

• WHEREAS, the abovementioned report concluded that “the nature, scale and organization of the operations suggests a level of preplanning and design on the part of the Tatmadaw leadership” consistent with the vision of hierarchical authorities;

• WHEREAS, testimonies of survivors in the refugee camps established in Bangladesh provide accounts of long-term and recent persecution, discrimination, and widespread violence and atrocities committed by the State of Myanmar against the Rohingya People as both an ethnic and a religious minority, amongst which sexual violence (in the forms of rape, gang rape, and forced nudity), mass killings, enforced disappearances, destruction of property, and persecution have been found;

• WHEREAS, the abovementioned crimes analyzed in the overall historical context of violence against the Rohingya population, the public use of hate speech and derogatory language followed by physical violence by governmental authorities, the plans and policies to change the demographic composition of the Rakhine State, and the extreme levels of brutality and general violence applied during the planned and organized “clearance operations” indicate the level of intent required to constitute the crime of genocide;

• WHEREAS, evidence shows the crimes against the Rohingya committed during “clearance operations” were widespread and systematic and carried out by the Tatmadaw, other security forces and groups of civilians, as according to the findings of the aforementioned Fact-Finding Mission;

• WHEREAS, in September 2018 the International Criminal Court Pre-Trial Chamber I ruled that the Court has jurisdiction over the alleged crime against humanity of deportation of the Rohingya population to Bangladesh as requested by Prosecutor;

• Therefore the International Association of Genocide Scholars: recognizes the crimes committed against the Rohingya in 2017 in Myanmar as Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity; urges the international community to provide humanitarian assistance to the refugees located in Bangladesh, including but not limited to proper shelter, clean water, food, medicine and vaccines, and psychological support; calls upon the International Criminal Court to provide effective and rapid justice to the victims, clarification of the facts, and punishment of the perpetrators; calls upon the International Court of Justice to issue a finding in favor of Gambia’s allegations against Myanmar of violations of the UN Genocide Convention; and calls upon the international community to impose/extend the arms embargo and to freeze the assets of those who are responsible

Four Years Later, The UK Government Still Shies Away From Calling It Genocide

As our co-founder, Luke de Pulford, reminds us today:

‘It’s four years to the day since we won a unanimous vote in the @HouseofCommons to recognise mass atrocities against Yazidis Christians and other minorities. Four years later @GOVUK still refuses to give what happened to these people its proper name: genocide.’

On 20 April 2016, the UK House of Commons debated on an Early Day Motion (EDM) moved by Mrs Fiona Bruce MP that was to recognise the atrocities of Daesh as genocide and call for action. The EDM states:

‘That this House believes that Christians, Yazidis, and other ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq and Syria are suffering genocide at the hands of Daesh; and calls on the Government to make an immediate referral to the UN Security Council with a view to conferring jurisdiction upon the International Criminal Court so that perpetrators can be brought to justice.’

The EDM passed unanimously (278-0). Four years later, the UK Government still shies away from calling the atrocities for what they are. Genocide. The UN Security Council referral to the International Criminal Court has not been undertaken either.

For more on the debate, see: Hansard of 20 April 2016.

The Coalition for Genocide Response Joins the NGO Statement on Humanitarian and Security Implications of the COVID-19 crisis in northern Iraq

The Coalition for Genocide Response has joined the NGO statement on ‘Humanitarian and Security Implications of the COVID-19 crisis in northern Iraq.’

The NGO statement:

‘An impending humanitarian and security disaster looms large in Iraq. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates an ongoing crisis that affects displaced communities across the country, including the survivors of atrocities perpetrated by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). These already traumatized communities now face restrictions of movement that will exacerbate underlying psychological distress that may lead to increasedsuicide rates. Furthermore, Iraq’s recent economic collapse aggravates social instability and causes a security vacuum, which in turn heightens the risk of further ISIS attacks and sows the seeds for future atrocities. The Government of Iraq and the United Nations (UN), including the World Health Organization (WHO), can take simple and effective action now by following the steps outlined below: The public health system in Sinjar and the wider Nineveh Governorate was decimated by ISIS during its brutal occupation and genocidal campaign in Iraq, beginning in 2014. According to the UN, 1.8 million people remain displaced, living in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps across Iraq due to persistent insecurity and a lack of reconstruction work. Globally promoted hand-washing practices are simply insufficient to arrest the spread of a respiratory disease like COVID-19 in such conditions, while social distancing will prove impossible in high- density camps where scores of families live in direct proximity to each other. At present, it is impossible to apprehend the extent of the spread of the virus because no testing for the disease is taking place in the camps, while restrictions of movement impede the work of humanitarian actors who provide basic essentials such as food, water, and medicine. Many Yazidis (Ezidis/Yezidis) want to return to Sinjar, but security, reconstruction, and basic services are still lacking to allow a dignified return. There are currently only two hospitals and just one ventilator to assist the current population of around 160,000 people in the region. The WHO must undertake an urgent assessment mission to Sinjar, Tel Afar and the Nineveh Plain, and provide testing capacities for all IDP camps.Another alarming corollary of the COVID-19 pandemic in Iraq is the psychological impact on at-risk communities, including Yazidis, Turkmen, and Christians, such as Assyrians. Prior to the outbreak, Médecins Sans Frontières reported on a debilitating mental health crisis among Yazidis in Iraq, including a rising number of suicides. The entire Yazidi population is experiencing mental trauma caused by the acts of genocide, and some are displaying severe psychological difficulties. Among those at heightened risk are the women and girls who experienced systemic sexual violence, and the boys who were forcibly recruited by ISIS. No effective trauma treatment is currently being provided to children that were held in captivity or were born out of the war. COVID-19 has also resulted in the suspension of the limited psychosocial therapy support that was being provided. Mental health professionals have identified hundreds of civilians at high risk for suicide, and two suicides by self- immolation have already been reported. Many more attempted suicides continue to go unreported due to stigma. The WHO must immediately address this acute mental health crisis and implement enhanced suicide prevention awarenesscampaigns.COVID-19 and the precipitous drop in oil prices have caused the Iraqi economy to collapse, leaving a dangerous security vacuum for ISIS to exploit. Indeed, the resultant political turmoil and social strife recall the very conditions that earlier incarnations of ISIS and its supporters capitalized on during its initial surge almost a decade ago. According to the International Crisis Group, ISIS in its weekly newsletter Al-Nabacalled on its fighters to attack and weaken its enemies while they are distracted by the pandemic. COVID-19 has also hastened the departure of some coalition forces from Iraq, weakening counter-terrorism operations, while some ISIS detainees have recently escaped prison in Syria. There is an urgent need for reform in the civilian security sector, in order to integrate regional militias into a unified Federal Police that upholds the rule of law and protects all citizens, regardless of religion or clan affiliation. TocounteractthecontinuedISISthreat,theGovernmentofIraqmustworkwith the United Nations and expedite efforts to bring ISIS fighters to justice for the genocide, crimes against humanityandwarcrimesandtoincorporatetheaforementionedinternationalcrimesintoitspenalcode.

COVID-19 is a pandemic the likes of which we have not seen before. Survivors of genocide and other mass atrocity crimes are now waiting for this silent death to pass through the camps and their homes, unable to fight back. There is a significant attendant threat to global security if ISIS uses this opportunity to regroup and return, but it does not have to be this way. Iraqi authorities and the United Nations must act now by means of:

  • An urgent WHO assessment mission to Sinjar, Tel Afar and the Nineveh Plain in addition to the provision of testing for COVID-19 in all IDP camps.
  • AWHOmentalhealthcrisisplan,includingsuicidepreventionawarenesscampaigns.
  • Expediting efforts to bring ISIS fighters to justice for the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes and to incorporate the aforementioned international crimes into its penalcode.
  • The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for HumanRightsshould,wherepresent,monitorandreportontheimpactofmeasurestakenbythe authority to stem COVID-19 on human rights.’


1. Aegis Trust (Rwanda/United Kingdom)

2. Air Bridge Iraq – Luftbrücke Irak (Germany)

3. Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (Australia)

4. Assyrian Policy Institute (United States of America)

5. Center for Justice and Accountability (United States of America)

6. Central Council of Yazidi in Germany – Zentralrats der Êzîden in Deutschland (Germany)

7. Free Yezidi Foundation (The Netherlands)

8. Genocide Alert (Germany)

9. International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect (United States of America)

10. International Council for Diplomacy and Dialogue (France)

11. Iraqi Christian Relief Council (United States of America)

12. Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights (Iraq)

13. Minority Rights Group International (United Kingdom)

14. Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (Canada)

15. Nadia’s Initiative (United States of America)

16. Nobody’s Listening (United Kingdom)

17. Religious Freedom Institute (United States of America)

18. Sanabel Al-Mostaqbal Organization for Civil Society Development (Iraq)

19. Society for Threatened Peoples – Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker-International (Germany)

20. Trauma Treatment International (United Kingdom)

21. Turkmen Rescue Foundation (Iraq)

22. Voice of Ezidis (France)

23. Women’s Refugee Commission (United States of America)

24. World Federalist Movement – Institute for Global Policy (United States of America)

25. Yazda (United States of America)

26. Shlomo Organization for Documentation (Iraq)

27. Post- Conflict Research Center (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

28. Coalition for Genocide Response ( United Kingdom)

29. International Coalition of Sites of Conscience (United States of America)

30. Never Again International – Canada

More at: https://www.yazda.org/post/joint-ngo-statement-humanitarian-and-security-implications-of-the-covid-19-crisis-in-northern-iraq

The Coalition for Genocide Response Joins the Freedom United ‘Free Uyghurs’ Campaign

The Coalition for Genocide Response has joined the Freedom United ‘Free Uyghurs’ Campaign. The ‘Free Uyghurs’ Campaign raises the issue of forced labour of Uyghurs and other Turkic and Muslim-majority ethnic groups.

As Freedom United reports:

“Since 2017, the Chinese government has detained over one million Uyghurs and other people from Turkic and Muslim-majority groups in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Northwest China.

In factories and detention camps, Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Hui and others work under constant surveillance and cannot leave. They are forced to undergo “ideological training” to abandon their religion and culture. There have also been reports of torture. 

The Chinese government’s use of forced labor as part of an effort to forcibly assimilate an ethnic group and eliminate a culture and religion sets it apart from more common forms of forced labor. 

This system of forced labor has also become a significant part of the Chinese economy, and countless Western companies are also profiting from it. 

The Chinese government has defended the camps as voluntary “vocational training centers” that serve to provide professional opportunities and eliminate extremism. But evidence is mounting that reveals this system of modern slavery for what it is.”

Join us in calling on the Chinese government to end the persecution and exploitation of people belonging to the Uyghur and other marginalized ethnic groups through the use of forced labor.

More at: https://www.freedomunited.org/advocate/free-uyghurs/

The World Is Marking The International Day Of Commemoration And Dignity Of The Victims Of Genocide

December 9 marks the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime. It is a day established by the U.N. General Assembly to raise awareness of genocide and the role the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the Genocide Convention) plays in addressing it. December 9 was an obvious choice, since, in 1948, on the same day, the U.N. General Assembly adopted the Genocide Convention. The Genocide Convention was the first document that defined genocide and imposed obligations on states to prevent genocide and punish the perpetrators. 

Read the remarks of our co-founder, Ewelina Ochab, here: The World Is Marking The International Day Of Commemoration And Dignity Of The Victims Of Genocide

Rwandan Lessons for UN Genocide Memorial Day 2019

By Katharine Thane; Kigali, Rwanda. (Senior Researcher & Advisor to the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief)

“Please be an ambassador to your country and tell them what you have heard so that what happened here can never happen anywhere else.” This was the message of Frederique, a perpetrator of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. He spoke to us from Mayange, Bugasera region; the best example of a reconciliation ‘Millenium village’ in Rwanda. Here, 54 families made up of perpetrators, victims and Tutsi returnees live side-by-side.

A church is Nyamata Church Genocide Memorial. Circa 4,000 thought they would be safe in it but the doors were locked, grenades thrown in, then the militia group with guns entered. Only 7 survived. Photo credit: Katharine Thane.

It took 11 years (in 2005) for the village to become feasible after the genocide. It was nearly impossible at the beginning for victims and perpetrators to trust each other. How would victims trust those who knowingly killed their relatives, especially with many of the perpetrators languishing in jail until today, unwilling to acknowledge their crimes? Over time, reconciliation did start to happen, however. Key to this in Mayange was a pastor and priest, one of which had been a victim himself. Both together taught about the need for forgiveness to heal and facilitated truth-telling between village members. A crucial part of this truth was for victims to directly learn where their relatives’ bodies had been placed by the perpetrators so as to be able to move on from hatred.

Unspeakable violence occurred during the genocide to all Tutsis and moderate Hutus who were attacked. Much of the justification for the arbitrary attack was based on arbitrary facial feature differences that colonial leaders exacerbated in the 1930s. The national memorial at Nyamata where you can descend into the mass grave of some 45,000 people their remains and some of their clothing is a particularly poignant warning of how exacerbation of differences through propaganda, hate speech and violence at the hands of neighbours can render unimaginable trauma for generations to come.

The younger generations are less able to feel the intensity of the genocide than their parents but the impact is still with them. Reconciliation is far from fully complete even with the eradication of individuals’ ethnic tribe from their ID cards. The fragility of the underlying situation is somewhat masked by the amazing amount of aid money that has been pumped into Rwanda since the genocide. How much Rwandans are able to criticize the current government and seek change to the remaining tensions is also unclear and perhaps a larger barrier than known to many in the international community to the full healing that many in the country seek.

Mayange village is a small but critical example of what can be achieved after the most inhumane of times. From my work, I have major questions about what is similarly being done in other countries such as Iraq, Syria, Nigeria and Myanmar where the need for an immediate focus on reconciliation is critical now even while the crisis continues to unfold. Reconciliation is the hardest of all violence stages and often left to one side when the need to ‘fire-fight’ is also great.

I implore those working on the targeting of minority groups in those countries above as well as the UN Office for the Prevention of Genocide which is overseeing the implementation of the UN Secretary General’s Hate Speech Action Plan this Genocide Memorial Day to support concrete long-term systematic efforts for reconciliation in the places where genocide is, has and may be about to take place.

Lord Alton Visiting A Genocide Site In Simile, Northern Iraq

Earlier today, Lord Alton of Liverpool, Patron of the Coalition for Genocide Response, visited Simile in Northern Iraq. This is how he describes his visit:

I was in Simile today – a place where ancestors of ISIS cut the throats of up to 3,000 men, women, and children. No memorial has ever been erected to these Assyrian Christians and the site of their bloody end is shamefully littered with garbage and rubbish. Historians are uncertain whether corpses were taken away to a mass grave but you can still see evidence of fragments of bone protruding from broken walls of what was once a police station. Dindar William of the Assyrian Democratic Movement accompanied me on my visit and said that “the desecration of the site is deliberate, adding insult to injury.”

Lord Alton visiting Simile in Northern Iraq.

At the time, the British authorities rejected calls for an international inquiry into the killings, cravenly arguing that it might lead to further massacres against Christians. They did not support calls to punish the offenders as they had become national heroes.

The Simile Genocide of 1933 was preceded by demonstrations in the city of Mosul where frenzied mobs decorated the city with melons pierced with daggers, symbolising the heads of murdered Assyrians. Even Iraq’s Crown Prince came to encourage the bloodletting. 

Fast forward 81 years to Mosul 2014. This is when ISIS took Mosul, daubed in red the homes of Christians with N (Nazarene) and the homes of Shia Muslims with R (Rafidah – Reject). Refusal to convert or to yield to extortion led to confiscation, forced conversion, exile or worse.

I met two men whose families fled from Mosul and another whose home was burnt down in Sinjar. No one from the international community or the Governments in Baghdad or Erbil has ever asked to meet them or to take their statements. Yet we are endlessly told we are “collecting evidence” and that perpetrators will “be brought to justice.”

Standing in the ruins of Simile, and listening later to the heirs of those silenced victims, is a challenging rebuke to our generation who have done little better than the British authorities of 1933. Little wonder that never again happens all over again.

The International Criminal Court Authorises Investigation Into Myanmar

On 15th November 2019, the International Criminal Court (the ICC) authorised the commencement of the investigation into the situation in Bangladesh/Myanmar for the alleged crimes of deportation, persecution, and any other crime within the ICC jurisdiction committed against the Rohingya people or others in Rakhine State, Myanmar.

The decision comes days after the Gambia initiated proceedings against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice (the ICJ). 

The Coalition for Genocide Response welcomes the decision as an important step towards justice for the victims and survivors and will continue observing the progress in the case.

The decision to authorise investigation can be found here: https://www.icc-cpi.int/Pages/record.aspx?docNo=ICC-01/19-27

More information on the ICC’s work on the case: https://www.icc-cpi.int/bangladesh-myanmar

See also:

Forbes article on the situation of the Rohingya Muslims: ‘I Was Lucky, I Was Only Raped By Three Men’ Says A Survivor Of Myanmar Genocide

The Gambia Is Taking Myanmar To Court

The Coalition for Genocide Response welcomes the Gambia’s steps in initiating proceedings against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice. Such a pro-active approach to addressing genocidal atrocities must be commended and supported by other states. For more information on the Gambia’s initiative, read our co-founder’s commentary in Forbes

On 11th November 2019, The Gambia initiated proceedings against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice (the ICJ).  The ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. The main aim of the ICJ is to peacefully settle disputes between States and to issue advisory legal opinions in response to requests submitted by the U.N. General Assembly, the U.N. Security Council, other competent organs and specialised agencies. The ICJ hears legal disputes relating to international law and provides authoritative judgments. The ICJ can also adjudicate on matters under (Articles VIII and IX of) the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the Convention on Genocide). 

To read see: The Gambia Is Taking Myanmar To Court

As Brexit Continues To Divide Britain, A New Genocide Response Initiative Aims To Unite

This article was first published on www.forbes.com here.

Ewelina U. Ochab, Co-founder of the Coalition for Genocide Response

As British Parliament concludes one of its shortest sessions in the history (the sessions began on October 14), and Parliamentarians prepare to run for office again, many important issues are pushed aside for the only topic that matters at the moment – Brexit. However, there are some exceptions to this concerning trend. 

On November 4, 2019, a few British Parliamentarians and experts have launched a new venture to address the issue of genocide. The Coalition for Genocide Response is a new initiative that aims to unite politicians, scholars, and civil society representatives in the common aim to provide a comprehensive response to genocide. The Coalition for Genocide Response wants to unite all to ensure that the promise of Never Again has meaning at last.

Damage in Sinjar, Iraq after liberation from Daesh
One of many mass graves in Sinjar, Iraq, where thousands of Yazidis were executed and buried by … [+]NURPHOTO VIA GETTY IMAGES

During the launch, several speakers expressed their support for the initiative and its urgent need in light of the state’s failures to prevent and punish the crime of genocide, both in the U.K. and globally. Among others, Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, a renowned British barrister, discussed the inadequacies of the current international system in its prevention, suppression and punishment of mass atrocities. He further commended the latest legislative attempt to address the issue of genocide, the Genocide Determination Bill, a bill tabled by Lord Alton of Liverpool, a peer at the House of Lord. While the bill cannot proceed until the new session of Parliament begins, the event provided an opportunity to discuss it and consider how best to support it in the future. Today In: Business

Both initiatives, the Coalition for Genocide Response and the Genocide Determination Bill are a breath of fresh air for the subject of genocide response and may be the catalyst to trigger renewed action. 

As recent years have been dominated by shocking violence and bloodshed, the concept of preventing international crimes like genocide (or crimes against humanity and war crimes) seems to have been lost and forgotten. In the last five years alone, we have seen two clear cases of genocide; one perpetrated by Daesh against religious minorities in Iraq and Syria, the second perpetrated by the Burmese military against the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. In both cases, the U.K., and other states, have done little to prevent the crime and punish the perpetrators. Apart from these two high profile cases, there are several other situations around the world where red-flags are identifiable. Places where the atrocities may escalate and pose a threat of genocide. 

The U.K. has, to say at least, an inadequate record on responding to mass atrocities. This, despite its powerful position as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council and as champion of some important initiatives on responding to atrocities (to include pioneering initiatives to establish mechanisms to collect evidence of mass atrocities perpetrated by Daesh in Iraq, namely, the Investigative Team established by the U.N. Security Council resolution 2379). Nonetheless, as the U.K. has been very selective in its response to international crimes, it has been criticized for aligning its response to such atrocities with its own interests. Some recent examples of its failure to address such atrocities include its response to the situation in Syria, Yemen or Myanmar. 

Other states, including the U.S., have introduced much more effective strategies to address genocide. For example, in 2011, President Obama issued Presidential Study Directive 10 and approved several steps to strengthen the ability to predict, prevent and address mass atrocities, including genocide. Presidential Study Directive 10 was followed by the establishment of the Atrocities Prevention Board, a mechanism engaged with monitoring and response to potential atrocity risks. The U.S. continues this work and is preparing a global conference on the topic in 2020. 

There are lessons to be learned from the failures of states and international communities to prevent international crimes. Prevention of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes should lie at the heart of the foreign policy of every state. This is the only way to effectively protect people from the destructive force that such atrocities carry. Responding to genocide and other international crimes once they occur cannot achieve much as the ultimate damage is already done and people have paid the ultimate price. In the words of a late British Parliamentarian Jo Cox: “We must now ensure that Governments the world over deliver on their promises on preventing genocide and other crimes against humanity. Never again can we let innocents suffer as they did in the Holocaust. Never again.”

Responding to such atrocities, while it can provide some assistance to those affected, will not bring back lives that have been lost or heal the injuries. Prevention is the only way. Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.