Solutions to Violent Conflict

Posts Tagged ‘Mass Atrocities’

Atrocity Crimes and the UN Prevention Agenda

In Mass Atrocities on May 17, 2018 at 9:13 am

Adam Lupel

Mass atrocity crimes are presently occurring in seven countries, according to the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, and populations are at imminent risk of falling victim in at least two other countries.

We continue to develop new tools to respond to atrocities—for example Barack Obama’s Atrocity Prevention Review Board or Ban Ki Moon’s Human Rights Up Front initiative. And yet we keep failing to prevent or stop these crimes. Why? Are we using the wrong tools? Do we have some fundamental misunderstanding about the role of international action and its capacity to stop mass atrocities?

At a time when the entire United Nations system is talking about “prevention”—from the Sustainable Development Goals to the proposed reform of the peace and security architecture, to the Secretary-General’s report on sustaining peace and the UN/World Bank report on Pathways for Peace: Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Conflict—it is important to get concrete about what we mean when we talk about preventing or stopping atrocity crimes. Read the rest of this entry »

Understanding Mass Atrocities

In Genocide, Mass Atrocities on May 17, 2018 at 9:13 am

A Muslim grieving over his son’s grave in Vitez. (UN Photo/John Isaac)

Ernesto Verdeja

This year marks the seventieth anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948 by a world traumatized by the horrors of World War II. And yet, in spite of a long though uneven decline in armed conflict and political violence since then, governments and insurgents continue to terrorize and kill civilians, with massacres, forced deportations, torture and other atrocities committed across the globe. A continuing challenge for policymakers and human rights practitioners is to prevent, and where necessary, respond to mass atrocities. Aided by advances in scholarship, we now have a much better understanding of the primary causes and triggers of mass atrocities. Read the rest of this entry »

UN Sanctions as a Tool for Preventing Atrocities

In Mass Atrocities, Sanctions and Security on May 17, 2018 at 9:13 am

George A. Lopez

United Nations Security Council sanctions continue to be used frequently to address a range of peace and conflict issues, from nuclear nonproliferation to the prevention and settlement of armed conflict. UN sanctions have also been utilized for atrocity prevention purposes, as illustrated in the cases of Côte d’Ivoire and Libya. In this essay I describe the sanctions policy instruments available for atrocity prevention and discuss the requirements for making sanctions work more effectively.

Sanctions have different applicability whether the target is a repressive national government, with officials who work for or support that government as individuals (and are thus judged responsible for atrocities), or the target concerns nonstate actors in violent extremist groups, death squads and militias. Below are some of the specific policy measures that can be applied as part of a political strategy to prevent mass atrocity crimes. Read the rest of this entry »