Developing tools for the prevention of genocide and mass atrocities

The Secretary General of EFAy attended the workshop and the follow-up dialogue forum entitled “Prevention of genocide and mass atrocities” that took place on 12-13 May, at the Hungarian Permanent Representation to the EU. The workshop was organized within the framework of the Program “Building coherence, skills and synergies in conflict prevention”. It was the result of the coordinated efforts of the Madariaga – College of Europe Foundation and the Folke Bernadotte Academy, as well as the close cooperation and support of the European External Action Service, the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office (EPLO) and the Hungarian Presidency of the European Union. Speeches were given by conflict prevention experts, university professors and representatives of international organisations, European institutions and NGOs active in the field. The main objective of the workshop was to shed light on the necessity for developing alternative tools and strengthening the international cooperation and partnerships in the sphere of genocide prevention.  The event provided space for dialogue and sparked vivid debate on the responsibility to protect and the challenges faced by the international community in preventing mass atrocities.  It was an excellent opportunity to exchange and contrast ideas and experiences from the field of conflict prevention, conflict analysis and peacebuilding, as well as to give recommendations for further actions. Most of the speakers stressed the need to strengthen the capacities to foresee upcoming conflicts and set up a non-formal crisis prevention platform that will join up strategies on conflict prevention, conflict management and peacebuilding. There is a consensus within the international community on the fact that it is not enough to just react on conflicts but there is an urgent need to improve the early warning techniques. The principle of confidentiality was seen by some as the main obstacle for sharing information relevant for the prevention of genocide with partners outside the UN system. Not targeting a particular country but dealing with the root causes of genocide present in every country in general (discrimination, poverty, marginalization, human rights violations, etc.) was seen as an important element for preventing mass atrocities in the long run. It was also underlined that there is a need for the international courts to rebuild and enhance the capacities of local courts after conflicts in order for them to be able to prosecute the crimes committed during the conflict.

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