BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA – Regional ownership is an important factor in effective long-term genocide prevention practice and policy. Towards this end, AIPR has been extremely busy in late 2014 supporting localized approaches to prevention for Latin American governments, including fostering interactive trainings and cross-border exchanges of information and advice between member states of the Latin American Network for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention.
From October 12 – 19, 2014, AIPR conducted in Poland the Latin American edition of our Raphael Lemkin Seminar. Launched in 2013, this version of the Lemkin Seminar shares many of the same aims as the Global edition, but with one additional goal:
To strengthen the Latin American Network for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention by creating a communication network of genocide-sensitive policymakers, shapers of political will, who will become agents of genocide and atrocity crimes prevention with a heightened degree of awareness and sensitivity to the role of non-governmental actors in supporting their work in zones of conflict.
The Latin American edition of the seminar is intended for public officials from member countries of the Latin American Network for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention and is implemented through bi-annual trainings held in Poland and in select Latin American countries. Part one of the first cycle of training took place in Poland in June 2013. Part two followed in June 2014 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The completion of the first training cycle represented a milestone towards building a common curriculum in genocide prevention for Latin American Network members.
The October 2014 seminar in Poland represents part one of our second cycle of training for the Latin American Network. This seminar welcomed twenty-three Latin American officials with responsibilities in Ministries of Human Rights, Justice, Interior, Foreign Affairs, and Defense. AIPR also welcomed participants from Ombudsmen Offices and members of the armed and security forces of the region.
AIPR Academic Programs Director Dr. James Waller tailored the curriculum to the Latin American context. Region-specific modules included “Historical Context: Civil-Military Relations in Latin America,” taught by Dr. Rut Diamint, Professor of International Security at Universidad Torcuato Di Tella (Argentina), “Latin American Human Rights Systems and Prevention of Atrocities,” delivered by Federico Villegas, Director of Human Rights of the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and “Latin America’s Approach to the Responsibility to Protect,” taught by Andrei Serbin Pont, CRIES (Coordinadora Regional de Investigaciones Económicas y Sociales) Research Coordinator specializing in foreign policy, defense, security and human rights.
According to AIPR Director of Latin American Programs Eugenia Carbone, this recent seminar “created a space for reflection and learning about prevention” and fostered a “proactive attitude in planning and implementation of public policies focused in prevention among attendees.” The final part of this second training cycle is set to take place in a Latin American Network member country in May of 2015.
In addition to our recent seminar in Poland, AIPR has provided ongoing domestic technical support for Network members. On October 24, 2014, for example, Ms. Carbone helped facilitate the first videoconference between the governments of Honduras and Argentina specifically on the topic of prevention. The activity, Tools for the Implementation of a National Plan Against Discrimination with a Focus on Mass Atrocities Prevention, was co-organized by the Directorate of Human Rights of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship of Argentina and the Directorate of Human Rights, Justice, Governance and Decentralization of Honduras. More than thirty public officers and representatives from Honduran NGOs participated in the videoconference and spoke with Argentinean officials and experts about best practices drawn from the implementation of their National Plan Against Discrimination. According to Ms. Carbone, “This activity is the first step of a cooperation process between Argentina and Honduras aimed to promote the exchange of experiences and training in the field of prevention of discrimination.”
From October 8 – 10, 2014, Ms. Carbone and Mr. Fabian Oddone, an active supporter of the Latin American Network’s activities, alumnus of the Raphael Lemkin Seminar, frequent Lemkin Seminar instructor and Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Argentina in Bogota, Colombia, delivered modules at the Augusto Ramirez Ocampo Course in International Humanitarian Law at the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Mr. Oddone developed one of the theoretical sessions of the training that focused on the prevention of genocide and mass atrocities, while Ms. Carbone participated in two panels: “Sexual Violence in Scenarios of Violence” and “Tools for the Prevention of Genocide.” This was the second time that AIPR participated in Colombia’s annual IHL course for diplomats.
Finally, from September 16 to 18, 2014, AIPR participated in El Salvador’s First National Workshop on Prevention of Mass Atrocities, Violations of Human Rights and Genocide. The workshop was co-organized by CRIES and welcomed high-level government representatives and members of civil society. The workshop was part of a broader project of CRIES to promote the participation of civil society in the creation of preventive mechanisms at the national level and combined theoretical modules as well as spaces for the exchange of ideas about programs on memory, truth and justice. For more information about all these past activities—or to learn about upcoming seminars, trainings and workshops in Latin America—please contact Eugenia Carbone.