GAAMAC NEWSLETTER MARCH 2021

Prevention work in action: from global to local

Dear friends, 

We sincerely hope that this newsletter finds you well and in good health and spirit.

After all the challenges last year brought upon us, GAAMAC's community started 2021 with a renewed energy, spirit, and commitment to preventing atrocities.

From global events at the level of the United Nations to work within their prospective regions and actions to engage communities at the national level, our network members have addressed important issues such as the prevention of genocide, countering and addressing hate speech, hate violations in international law, and local atrocity prevention.

This month, the prevention community has been active in the sixty-fifth session of the Commission on the Status of Women and its side events, including a virtual side event on “Prioritizing prevention and strengthening response: women and the responsibility to protect” co-organized by the Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect and the upcoming parallel event on “Front and Center: Women, Grassroots Atrocity Prevention and Justice Initiatives” organized by the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience with the support of GAAMAC.

In April the global community will mark Genocide Awareness Month, commemorating the anniversaries of major genocides around the world. This will be the opportunity to reiterate that effective action against genocide and massive crimes requires collaboration and coordination of the global community as a whole.

This newsletter is dedicated to showcase the GAAMAC community’s work in action: preventing mass atrocities from global and regional to national efforts. We wish you an excellent read and hope you will find these recommendations, articles, and good practices useful for your important prevention work.

NEWS FROM THE GAAMAC COMMUNITY

[GLOBAL]

10 Years of Conflict in Syria

‘’This grim anniversary should be a time for reinvigorated action, and a reminder to the international community, and the Security Council in particular, to take the action required to protect the people of Syria.’’ said Alice Wairimu Nderitu, United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, and Karen Smith, United Nations Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, in a joint statement on the situation in the Syrian Arab Republic. 

Responsibility to Protect Around the World

The latest R2P Monitor by the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect examines atrocity prevention developments in Afghanistan, Cameroon, Central Sahel, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Myanmar (Burma), Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, Central African Republic, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Sudan and Sudan.

Commemorating Past Genocides and Learning to Prevent Atrocity Crimes

On 12 March, 50 years after the genocide in Bangladesh, the Liberation War Museum hosted the Global Virtual Conference on genocide and mass atrocity prevention. During 24 hours, scholars, researchers, practitioners, and experts from over 27 countries came together with the aim of improving the global understanding of genocides and mass atrocities.

GAAMAC community participated in Human Rights Council Intersessional Meeting on the Prevention of Genocide

On 10 February 2021, the Human Rights Council convened a one-day intersessional meeting on the “prevention of genocide” in Geneva (and online). Several members of GAAMAC's community participated in the meeting in different ways, including GAAMAC's Chair Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi who moderated the session on “Promoting States’ participation in regional and sub-regional initiatives for the prevention of genocide”, GAAMAC Steering Group members, as well as GAAMAC partners and members of the Africa Working Group. On this occasion, Denmark delivered a joint statement on behalf of Argentina, Costa Rica, and Switzerland as GAAMAC Steering Group members.

Preventing Atrocity Crimes: The Role of Countering and Addressing Hate Speech

On 5 March, the United Nations Development Programme and UN Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect (OSAPG) organized a virtual discussion featuring experience from the UN and civil society partners who are at the forefront of countering and addressing hate speech. 

International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust 2021

27 January marks the anniversary of the liberation of the concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1945. This year, UNESCO and the United Nations commemorated the International Day with a joint online ceremony and panel discussion, organized in partnership with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

Launch of hate speech group on My GAAMAC

In February, GAAMAC launched on its platform My GAAMAC a new group for participants from around the world and from different sectors to exchange knowledge, resources, recommendations and good practices on addressing hate speech in a safe space online. The launch of the discussion group is part of the activities organized in the lead up to GAAMAC IV in November 2021. Those interested in joining can register here

[REGIONAL]

Council of Europe anti-racism commission publishes 2020 report

In its 2020 annual report, the Council of Europe’s anti-racism commission (ECRI) identified four key challenges Europe was facing last year: mitigating the disproportional impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on vulnerable groups, tackling deep-rooted racism in public life, combating anti-Muslim racism and antisemitism in the face of terrorism, and addressing the backlash against the protection of human rights of LGBTI people. 

Guide to Hate Violations in International Law

On 26 January, GAAMAC supported its partner Rights for Peace in launching their new ‘Guide to Hate Violations in International Law’. The guide is designed to support human rights defenders and practitioners interested in monitoring and reporting human rights violations and international crimes that are based on prejudice and hate. From hate speech to genocide, this guide brings a range of legal frameworks relating to hate violations and international crimes into a single volume.

The Right to Remedy in Southeast Asia

In February, the Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect launched a series of webinars with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations – ASEAN’s Inter-Governmental Commission on Human Rights Indonesia and the Indonesian  Human Rights Working Group on the Right to Remedy. The series will run up to mid-May 2021.

Atrocity prevention and youth: call for applications

The Global Initiative for Justice, Truth and Reconciliation (GIJTR) is issuing a call for applications from highly motivated youth activists and/or representatives of youth-led organizations from Kenya, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Afghanistan, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Poland, or the Balkans to participate in a year-long project focused on building capacities of youth and youth-led organizations in atrocity prevention. Deadline is 30 March 2021. For more information, please contact Devon Gulbrandsen: dgulbrandsen@sitesofconscience.org

Mass atrocity response in China's Xinjiang province

GAAMAC’s partners from the Oxford Programme on International Peace and Security organized a panel discussion together with the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict, the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, and the Oxford Transitional Justice Research group. The panel focused on China’s alleged commission of crimes in the Xinjiang detention camps and the characterization of the crimes and mechanisms available under international law for ensuring international protection.

Online training on atrocities prevention in the Asia Pacific

The Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect held an online training on atrocities prevention for members of the Asia Pacific Partnership for Atrocities Prevention from 22 February - 10 March. The research of GAAMAC’s Asia Pacific Study Group on hate speech and incitement in the Philippines, Myanmar and Indonesia was also featured.  

For peace and justice tomorrow, address property rights today

GAAMAC partner Impunity Watch, organized an online side event to the Brussels V Conference in March, together with PEL – Civil Waves and PAX. The event featured an all-Syrian panel of civil society and affected community representatives who highlighted key developments regarding housing, land and property rights violations in Syria and provided recommendations to address past and ongoing rights violations and prevent further abuses occurring.

Platform for Peace and Humanity receive PACEY Youth Award

In January new GAAMAC partner Platform for Peace and Humanity received the PACEY Youth Award for the best youth project from Europe. The global advocacy programme titled "Towards the enforcement of the right to peace" is expected to be launched in April 2021 and will focus on establishing the human right to peace and crimes against peace in international law. 

[NATIONAL]

Challenges and opportunities for local atrocity prevention in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Read the latest publication by Peace Direct on challenges and opportunities for local atrocity prevention in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The report presents key findings on the challenges facing atrocity prevention work, current activities, and success factors. It also presents recommendations to support atrocity prevention efforts for the Congolese Government, the UN, local civil society, and international donors.  

Sensitizing the armed forces of Côte d'Ivoire to the prevention of mass atrocities

In March, the African Coordination of Human Rights for the Armed Forces (CADHA) with the support of the Raphael Lemkin Center for Africa (CERLA) and GAAMAC organized a workshop for 30 officers and non commissioned officers of the armed forces of Côte d'Ivoire. The workshop aimed at introducing the armed forces to the Manual on Best Practices for the Establishment and Management of National Mechanisms for Genocide and Mass Atrocities Prevention developed by the GAAMAC Africa Working Group.

MIGS launches Canadian Women Leaders' Digital Defence Initiative

With the support from the Department of Heritage’s Digital Citizens Contribution Program, GAAMAC partner The Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS) launched the Canadian Women Leaders' Digital Defence Initiative. The Initiative will examine the impact of disinformation and online harms targeting Canadian women leaders.

Launch of the Truth and Justice Charter in Syria

On 10 February 2021, five survivor organizations from Syria and their families - The Association of Detainees and Missing in Sednaya Prison, Caesar Families Association, Families for Freedom, Coalition of Families of Persons Kidnapped by ISIS (MASSAR) and Ta’afi - virtually launched The Truth and Justice Charter which reflects their common vision on how to advance victims’ rights and the cause of justice and truth in Syria.

Implications of ICC’s ruling for justice, human rights and health in Israel/Palestine

FXB Center Senior Research Fellow and GAAMAC Steering Group member Dr. Jennifer Leaning moderated a recent panel discussion with legal experts Ioannis Kalpouzos, Richard Falk, and Rania Muhareb and discussed the specifics of the ICC decision, implications for justice in Israel/Palestine, and the potential impact on the health and human rights of Palestinians.

NEW GAAMAC PARTNER

We are delighted to introduce our newest partner!

The Platform for Peace and Humanity is an international civic association of young professionals from Slovakia promoting peace and humanity in the world by resorting to instruments and mechanisms of international law. It aims to develop and implement projects to protect human rights, support international justice, prevent atrocity crimes and ensure compliance with international law and contribute to its progressive development.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Front and Center: Women, Grassroots Atrocity Prevention and Justice Initiatives

On March 25, International Coalition of Sites of Conscience and GAMAAC will host a parallel event within the UN Commission on the Status of Women. The event will include a discussion on community-led transitional justice initiatives in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and how peace processes can better address gendered components of atrocity prevention.

To attend, register first here for the NGO CSW Forum and then here for our session.

Incitement to Discrimination, Hostility and Violence: A Comparative Analysis

Join the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights - ODIHR’s side event on “Incitement to Discrimination, Hostility and Violence: A Comparative Analysis” during the American Society of International Law (ASIL) Annual Meeting on March 25.

The event will include a discussion around legal frameworks on incitement to discrimination, hostility and violence as well as freedom of expression.

Countering hate: identifying gaps and synergies in prevention efforts in Europe

On 27 April, GAAMAC will be supporting the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and FriEnt in co-organizing a virtual session at the FriEnt Peacebuilding Forum on “Countering hate: identifying gaps and synergies in prevention efforts in Europe”. The session will discuss ways to strengthen prevention efforts in Europe with relevant stakeholders. This event is on invitation only but if you would like to participate, please get in touch with our Support Office at contact@gaamac.org. 

Human Rights and Artificial Intelligence Forum

 

This April, join the 2021 Human Rights and Artificial Intelligence Forum organized by the  Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS) with the support of Global Affairs Canada, the Canadian Commission to UNESCO and the Dutch Embassy to Canada.

The event will feature keynote addresses and panel discussions from leading global experts working at the intersection of artificial intelligence and human rights.

Peace Education and Conflict Prevention Webinars

Follow World BEYOND War and choose one of their upcoming webinars to learn more about different nonviolent, peaceful alternatives to conflict and war. Their latest War Abolition 101 course brings knowledge and tools for advocates and activists on stopping conflict, pursuing disarmament and maintaining peace.

WHAT'S NEW IN GAAMAC'S RESOURCE LIBRARY?

IHRA and UNESCO Recommendations for policy and decision makers
Guide to hate violations in international law
Research on atrocity prevention efforts in DRC
OSCE ODIHR Report on Gender-Based Hate Crime
More atrocity prevention resources
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