Leading experts discussed the state of atrocity prevention as a growing field of peacebuilding theory and practice.

In 2017, a half-million Rohingya fled attacks on their homes in Burma. Eight million face starvation amid Yemen’s war. Atrocities against civilians continue in Syria, South Sudan and elsewhere. What lessons did we learn from the Holocaust – if any? And how can we strengthen norms and institutions to prevent future atrocities more effectively? On January 30, USIP hosted a discussion on the state of atrocity prevention with leading experts.

In recent decades we have seen new commitments to protect civilians from mass atrocities. Still, policymakers face obstacles. They may lack access to areas at risk, or leverage over possible perpetrators. So how can we translate political commitments into timely and effective practice? Is it possible to identify risk and prevent mass violence before it erupts? How can justice mechanisms help ensure accountability and prevent future mass violence?

The conversation continued online at #SwissIHRAseries.

Speakers

Ambassador Princeton Lyman, Welcome 
Senior Advisor to the President,  U.S. Institute of Peace

Ambassador Martin Dahinden, Opening Remarks
Ambassador of Switzerland to the United States of America

Jonas Claes, Moderator
Senior Program Officer, U.S. Institute of Peace

Mô Bleeker
Special Envoy for Dealing with the Past and the Prevention of Atrocities, Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs 

Lawrence Woocher 
Research Director, Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

Menachem Rosensaft
General Council, World Jewish Congress

Connect with us!

Embassy of Switzerland in the United States of America 
Instagram: @swissembassyusa
Twitter: @SwissEmbassyUSA

United States Institute of Peace
Instagram: @USIPeace
Twitter: @USIP 

Related Publications

Four Lessons from Outbreaks in Africa for the Age of Coronavirus

Four Lessons from Outbreaks in Africa for the Age of Coronavirus

Monday, March 30, 2020

By: Aly Verjee

As the coronavirus pandemic continues and new behavioral practices—from social distancing to avoiding handshakes and hugs—become expected norms overnight, there are crucial policy lessons to be learned from struggles against previous outbreaks of disease in Africa. Despite widespread poverty, weak infrastructure, and relatively few health professionals, there is an encouraging, long record of African countries—often with significant international assistance and cooperation—eventually managing to overcome dire health challenges. For non-African countries already facing large numbers of COVID-19 infections, as well as for African countries where the epidemic is now at an early stage, policymakers would do well to recall these four lessons of past epidemics—of both what to do and, perhaps almost as importantly, what not to do to confront this global threat.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Human Rights

Why the Middle East is Especially Vulnerable to Coronavirus Crisis

Why the Middle East is Especially Vulnerable to Coronavirus Crisis

Thursday, March 19, 2020

By: Mona Yacoubian

As the world grapples with the dangerous and evolving coronavirus pandemic, the impact on the most vulnerable populations—the homeless, prison populations, and the impoverished—cannot be overestimated. In the Middle East, a region already ravaged by conflict and suffering from inadequate services and poor governance, the novel coronavirus could have untold consequences. Refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) in the region are among the most at risk. Mitigating the impacts of the coronavirus, technically known as COVID-19, on this population will be critical to stanching the spread of the pandemic.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Human Rights

View All Publications