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International Conference on Genocide Prevention


The International Conference on Genocide Prevention is taking place in Brussels from 31 March-1 April. The conference is hosted by the Belgian Government and jointly organized by the United Nations, African Union, the European Union, and Belgium.

On the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda (1994-2014) and the upcoming commemoration of the July 1995 Srebrenica genocide, the International Conference on Genocide Prevention will address the fact that despite the Holocaust and other crimes committed by the Nazi regime in World War II, the world has since been exposed to repeated cases of mass atrocities.

The conference will focus on 4 aspects: (1) the status of academic research on genocide; (2) an integrated international human rights law - international criminal law perspective; (3) role of civil society and (4) parliaments and institutional responses.

Speakers at the conference include Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chair of the Commission of the African Union, Thorbjorn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, and Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary General.

IHRA Chair Sir Andrew Burns and Honorary Chairman Yehuda Bauer will also participate in the discussion panels.

Representatives of regional and international parliamentary bodies, representatives of participating states, regional international organizations such as the Council of Europe, the European Union and the African Union as well as the United Nations will be called upon, at the highest level, to provide reactions and responses to the findings and challenges.

The conference’s intention is to consolidate these responses in concise, action-oriented “Conclusions by the Chair.” These could include a call for:

  1. increasing international cooperation towards the development of tools for the prevention of mass atrocity crimes, especially the prevention of genocides.
  2. the creation of a permanent network of Focal Points for Prevention (FOP) in the UN Member States - preferably linked with the R2P Focal Points - to develop appropriate systems of prevention and accountability in close collaboration with the UN Secretary General's office, and especially with the Special Advisers on Genocide Prevention and Responsibility to Protect
  3. the development of educational tools ensuring that a more aware public opinion could catalyze governmental policies aiming at international preventive efforts. Awareness raising efforts will, among other steps, target multipliers (opinion makers, policy makers), diplomats, security personnel, civil servants, business people, educators… on a multilateral basis, so as to impact on governmental policies.
  4. increasing research and publications dealing with mass atrocities, in particular genocides.
  5. pressing for open, systemic and continued discussion of this challenge of our times in international fora, especially at a regional level and within the United Nations system.

Further information on the conference, including official documents and photos, can be found on the conference website.

The IHRA Chair’s speech can be read here.