Genocide Prevention
One of the worst occurrences in humankind is genocide — the killing of an entire group of people. The website titled Genocide Watch has a goal of predicting, preventing, stopping and punishing genocide and other forms of mass murder if/when they occur. In fact, this website even went so far as to develop a code for people at risk of genocide:

Genocide Watch, Warning and Emergency

  1. A Genocide Watch: Early warning signs indicate the danger of a genocidal process underway.
  2. A Genocide Warning: A genocidal process is underway and is often indicated by genocidal massacres with the imminent danger of root and branch destruction.
  3. A Genocide Emergency: A genocidal process has taken on root and branch dimensions.

Currently, Burundi is coded Genocide Watch; Turkey is coded as a Genocide Warning. However, nine countries are signified with a Genocide Emergency: Yemen, Iraq, Myanmar, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Syria. This extensive list of countries in conflict demonstrates why genocide prevention efforts are crucial to stopping a genocide in its tracks.

Organizations Combatting Genocide

Numerous efforts are being made across the globe to make genocides an action of the past, and the following is a few of the groups making a profound change on the prevention and combat of genocides today.

  1. The Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide. This center is connected to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C., United States. The goal of this center is to mobilize global action for genocide prevention and to motivate the international community to respond in the face of genocide. The Simon-Skjodt Center combines action with awareness, as they work to influence policymakers and bring awareness to projects and risk factors that lead to genocide.
  2. Early Warning Project utilizes data to identify countries at risk of new mass atrocities. Their goal is to advance prevention through their early warning system for mass atrocities. By providing governments, advocacy groups and at-risk societies with earlier and more reliable warning, this organization then has more opportunity to take action before deaths occur. This website provides a world map that shows a country’s risk through a color scheme. It also explains their statistical risk assessment. The Early Warning Project utilizes an analytical approach to work for the prevention of genocide.
  3. United to End Genocide focuses on acts individuals can take to prevent future genocides. This organization encourages passionate individuals to lobby Congress to make human rights and genocide prevention core values in U.S. foreign policy. Also, United to End Genocide encourages individuals to mobilize others to demand action. Again, this organization provides a list of countries at risk for human rights violations. Lastly, they want to “stop the enablers;” by this, United to End Genocide puts public pressure on companies that welcome or reward perpetrators of mass atrocities. So, be a conscious consumer when it relates to preventing genocide.

Preventative Efforts

When considering genocide prevention, it is important to address the stages of genocide and the importance of early intervention. Knowing signs of classification, symbolization, discrimination, dehumanization, organization, polarization and preparation and educational efforts are crucial to preventing genocide prior to persecution, extermination and denial.

For an example of such preemptive behavior, Myanmar is under a Genocide Emergency. Three major stages of this status that occurred were discrimination, dehumanization and polarization of the Rohingya Muslims. By identifying these stages and how they occur in society, the international community can better prevent genocide.

Awareness and Activism

Such organizations focus their work on preventing genocide through bringing awareness to the public, educating and mobilizing policymakers, and taking action when needed. Projects that work toward preventing genocide not only reduce or stop massive conflict in its tracks, but also work to alleviate poverty worldwide.

These key tools of education, awareness and action are also important when alleviating communities of extreme poverty. These global issues are interwoven and by addressing poverty and addressing genocide simultaneously, the global community can live in a better world.

– Jenna Walmer
Photo: Flickr

Alliance for Peacebuilding
The Alliance for Peacebuilding, or AfP, seeks to find innovative approaches to Peacebuilding through a number of related fields, including development, relief, human rights, democracy and security sector reform.

Launched in 1999 as the Applied Conflict Resolution Organization Network, the organization obtained a $1 million dollar funding grant from the Hewlett Foundation in 2003. Following the grant, ACORN became the Alliance for International Conflict Prevention and Resolution. In 2006, AICPR became AfP with a focus on collaboration among organizations and different peacebuilding parties.

Today, AfP aims to innovate, influence and connect Congress as well as the general public to strengthen peacebuilding activities. Consisting of more than 70 peacebuilding organizations from across the world, AfP has over 15,000 volunteers and employees throughout the globe and employs 1,000 professionals.

With its headquarters in Washington, D.C., AfP focuses it energy on eight different programs as it advocates for peacebuilding. These include policymaker engagement, human security, strategic communication and genocide prevention. The organization also hosts an annual conference where AfP members can reach out to other members of the broader peacebuilding community to share ideas and insights within the field.

The keynote address at this year’s AfP conference, hosted in May, focused on developing games as a tool for peace. Asi Burak, the president of Games for Change, noted how the gaming industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that draws gamers throughout the world of different races, genders and nationalities. “Peacemaker,” a game based on the events of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, allows players to become their own leader and to try to bring peace to the region.

May’s conference also featured discussions on the challenges facing African countries, including Nigeria and Kenya, the need for peacebuilders to collect relevant data in their fields and a discussion on providing peacebuilders with the necessary communication tools for storytelling purposes.

AfP maintains partnerships with a number of organizations, coalitions and platforms. These include the United States Institute of Peace, the Conflict Prevention and Resolution Forum and the Peace Portal, among others.

AfP also publishes an online magazine titled “Building Peace: A Forum for Peace and Security in the 21st Century.” With its most recent publication being March of this year, each issue features a variety of stories following a particular theme. The most recent theme, detailing men, women and peace, featured stories exploring the role of gender in peacebuilding activities.

Along with other human rights organizations, AfP recently announced its support for the Syrian Humanitarian Resolution of 2014. The resolution, introduced by 19 senators in March, expressed concern for the crisis in the country and “the urgent need for a political solution to the crisis.”

AfP and the organizations in support of the resolution stated in a joint statement their commitment to ensuring the Syrian nation does not “lose another year to bloodshed and suffering…We stand with the people of Syria…in calling our leaders to make the same commitment and engage the public. We urge strong support for and swift passage of this critical resolution.”

At last year’s U.N. General Assembly, AfP asked members of the Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding and people on the street what they believed the post-Millennium goals should be. Numerous interviewees said they intended to see advances in human rights and gender equality as well as an increased awareness in climate change.

Additionally, those interviewed stated such goals could help to promote global peace.

As death tolls in Iraq soar into the hundreds following jihadist violence in the past several weeks, calls for nonviolent resolutions to issues separating different cultures and countries remains at the forefront of the world’s collective consciousness.

— Ethan Safran

Sources: Alliance for Peacebuilding, Building Peace
Photo: CNN