October 2019


a) Chair's Message on International Day of Peace

Each year on 21 September, the international community celebrates the International Day of Peace. Read here the full statement of GAAMAC Chair Mô Bleeker on the occasion: "While no society is immune from violence and atrocities, every society also has the potential to live in peace. Peace requires a permanent effort by States, civil society and committed individuals."

b) Check out the latest video on GAAMAC’s community of commitment!

A recent video on “Understanding Perpetrators to Better Prevent Atrocities” is now online. It completes the video series featuring GAAMAC III participants.

c) Introducing our newest partners

The GAAMAC Steering Group warmly welcomes our newest partners.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands

Rights for Peace (RfP) is a human rights organisation working to prevent atrocities in fragile states, by supporting and collaborating with local organisations. RfP combines legal advocacy and countering division focusing on early intervention on hate-based violations.

d) Updates from GAAMAC regional initiatives

The “Manual on Best Practices for the Establishment and Management of National Mechanisms for Genocide and Mass Atrocities Prevention”, produced by the Africa Working Group, is available in English, French and now also in Spanish!

El "Manual sobre Buenas Prácticas para el Establecimiento y la Gestión de Mecanismos Nacionales de Prevención del Genocidio y las Atrocidades Masivas", producido por el Grupo de Trabajo Africano, está disponible en inglés, francés y ahora también en español.


a) Switzerland and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) held a side-event on recent progress and innovative avenues in the pursuit of justice for serious human rights violations in Asia on 19 September in Geneva.

In her opening statement, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet underlined the crucial importance of transitional justice in contexts where massive human rights violations have been committed; the holistic approach as promoted by the UN includes the combination of efforts on the right to truth, justice, reparations and in-depth reforms to ensure the non-recurrence of such violations, which are acknowledged as the duty of states. Marzuki Darusman, Chairperson of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, shared recent updates on the ongoing difficulties on the ground and underlined the importance of the rule of law and the urgency to protect the Rohingyas.

GAAMAC Chair Mô Bleeker was invited in her role as chair of the Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission related to the Bangsamoro Peace Agreement in the Philippines. She shared lessons learned about working on transitional justice in peace agreement processes, about participation of victims and affected communities. She also reflected on how important it is that states implement all their duty in this field in a timely fashion. This is crucial to avoid that the burden remains on the shoulders of the victims and affected communities. GAAMAC Steering Group member Mofidul Hoque of the Liberation War Museum shared important insights about the experience of the Museum, notably the importance of working with youth, as memory is a transgenerational issue. He also underlined the ongoing experience of memory to establish the facts and to support traumatized victims.

b) GAAMAC Chair Mô Bleeker delivered a keynote speech at a working session during the 2019 Annual Security Review Conference of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). In her speech, Ms. Bleeker reflected on prevention and ongoing issues in Europe including hate speech, incitement and denial:

“We agree that no one size fits all, thus each society needs to identify, define and agree on its own particular risks, the best way to prevent them and/or the most legitimate and credible manner to deal with them. Consensus lies at the heart of prevention and ownership is key for successful prevention. With that in mind, discussing the potential risks and appropriate means to address them can result in a very constructive societal process.”

c) GAAMAC Steering Group member Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect produced a summary of the discussions held during the UN General Assembly plenary meeting on 27 and 28 June 2019 in New York, as part of the formal agenda of its 73rd session. This plenary meeting on the “Responsibility to Protect and the prevention of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity” took place following the release of the UN Secretary-General 2019 report on R2P entitled “Responsibility to protect: lessons learned for prevention”. The report mentions GAAMAC as constituting “an important platform for international cooperation in advancing national prevention efforts”.

d) New Steering Group member, the Liberation War Museum (LWM) is organizing the 6th International Conference on Bangladesh Genocide and Justice from 14 to 16 November 2019 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The aims of this year's conference are to garner and discuss theoretical and empirical insights into challenges to international justice institutions in dealing with international crimes including genocide, as well as to propose different avenues for strengthening transitional justice mechanisms. Conference registrations close on 20 October.


a) Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Youth Association for Development (YAD) Atta ul Haq has been selected as one of fifteen winners of the first Innovation for Sustainable Development Awards initiated by Commonwealth Secretary-General Rt Hon. Patricia Scotland last September. YAD was granted an award in the category Promoting Peace with its project on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) based in Pakistan's province of Balochistan. The project promotes the participation of women and girls in discussions and decisions on peace and security through a 4Ps philosophy (Peace, Promotion, Protection and Prevention). The Innovation for Sustainable Development Awards celebrates innovators who have developed forward-looking solutions to help Commonwealth countries and people advance towards the realization of the SDGs, while promoting the values of the Commonwealth Charter.

b) Nearly four years after the adoption of Security Council Resolution 2250 (2015) urging states to increase the representation of youth in decision-making at the local, national, regional and international levels, Peace Direct and the United Network of Young Peacebuilders published the results of a three-day online consultation with local peacebuilders from across the world. The report shares key insights and policy recommendations to enhance youth inclusion in peacebuilding processes in light of young peacebuilders’ strengths and aspirations to transform their respective contexts. The document showcases initiatives in Colombia, Nigeria, Madagascar and the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as a case study on the benefits of youth peace networks.

c) The International Coalition of Sites of Conscience has launched the “African Youth Transitional Justice Academy” in 2019. As part of its Global Initiative for Justice, Truth and Reconciliation (GIJTR), the Academy is an initiative designed to empower a cohort of youth activists and civil society actors in Africa to raise awareness of issues related to memory, truth, justice and reconciliation. The initiative closes a gap in transitional justice programming by bringing together and supporting young people in Africa to implement their own transitional justice projects. To read more about the initiative, read this blog post by the International Coalition.


a) 12 August 2019 marked 70 years since the adoption of the Geneva Conventions. On this occasion, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) released the International Humanitarian Law Digital App. The app provides access and reference, in multiple languages, to more than 75 treaties and other documents relating to IHL.

Download the app

b) From 9 to 12 September, Ambassador Georges Santer, Chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), with which GAAMAC maintains an informal partnership, led visits to Holocaust memorial sites in Serbia and Croatia, both member states of IHRA. In Serbia, Ambassador Santer visited Staro Sajmište and Topovske šupe. In Croatia, he visited Jasenovac, the former site of a concentration camp established by the Ustasha regime. During his visits, the Ambassador highlighted that preserving and protecting Holocaust memorial sites plays a crucial role in educating current and future generations about the genocide and its victims, including the Jewish and Roma and Sinti populations. Ambassador Santer underlined the importance of historical accuracy countering Holocaust distortion and denial.

c) On 20 September, UN member states voted to adopt the issue of the "Responsibility to Protect and the prevention of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity” for the 74th session of the UN General Assembly with 79 States in favour, 13 against, and 17 abstentions. This will be the third formal debate on R2P.

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