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The Global Action Against Mass Atrocity Crimes: a community for prevention

December 9, 2018 will mark the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and yet not only its ratification and implementation is not universal but also, and regrettably so, 70 years later no country is immune to genocide or other mass atrocity crimes such as war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing.


The international community continues not only to be challenged by preventing crises before they occur, but also by addressing them in a timely, effective and permanent manner. The ongoing crises in Burundi, Myanmar and Yemen emphasize the need for renewed leadership and cooperative engagement in putting prevention at the forefront.


Preventive diplomacy and cooperative engagement give us a glimmer of hope!


We must evolve from Reaction to Prevention!


It is in this regard, that in March 2013 the Global Action Against Mass Atrocity Crimes (GAAMAC) emerged from the concerted efforts and commitment of the United Nations Member States and Civil Society Organizations with the aim to address the multiple gaps hindering successful prevention efforts such as for example the lack of national ownership and the reactive response after crises burst.


GAAMAC is a community of commitment wherein governments and civil society organizations in all countries are called upon to commit to the prevention of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing.


GAAMAC is a pioneer in establishing a “new deal” for democratic engagement between governments and civil society actors. Chaired by Switzerland under the leadership of Ms. Mô Bleeker, Special Envoy for Dealing with the Past and Prevention of Atrocities and, steered by a group (Steering group) comprized of states: Argentina, Costa Rica, Denmark, Switzerland and Tanzania and civil society organizations: Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect, FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health, and the School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University) offers a trusted space for states to engage and cooperate. GAAMAC furthermore facilitates dialogues and exchanges between an extended network of actors with rich and diverse expertise.


GAAMAC is also a visionary in its inclusive nature which speaks to goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals. Indeed GAAMAC encourages establishing permanent national prevention policies which would contribute to greater legitimacy and credibility in strategies and policies towards the prevention of atrocities and the promotion of the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP). GAAMAC encourages locally-owned initiatives that build national architectures and strengthen national policies to prevent mass atrocities from a very early stage and as a permanent endeavor.


GAAMAC finds its value in uniting this diverse community towards the same shared goal of prevention and in connecting the local with the regional and international levels. Most recently at the international level, GAAMAC convened its third Conference – GAAMAC III - from 23 to 25 May in Kampala, Uganda. 200 experts and practitioners representing close to 70 nationalities participated actively. These included representatives of governments, international and regional organizations, civil society organizations, academia and many representatives of national prevention committees created within the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR). GAAMAC III concluded with concrete results and recommendation drawn from the interventions at the plenary sessions, the round-table conversations, and the highly specialized workshops.


GAAMAC III has given a new impetus to this Community for prevention. GAAMAC aims at strengthening its platform of a large and diverse range of actors to translate concepts and ideas into concrete initiatives, actions and results on the ground.


Based in Geneva, the GAAMAC Support Office was established in 2017 to support the network in operationalizing its mandate, and in playing its crucial role in promoting greater international cooperation, networking, exchange of experience and sharing information in view of establishing and strengthening national atrocity prevention mechanisms.



By Jelena Pia-Comella – Senior Advisor – GAAMAC


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