Fabian Oddone is a diplomat currently acting as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Argentine Embassy in Bogota, Colombia. Mr. Oddone served as an instructor at the Global edition of AIPR’s Lemkin Seminar in November of 2011 and December of 2013 as well as at the Latin American edition of the seminar in October 2014.
What are the factors that have brought you to work in the field of genocide and mass atrocity prevention?
Without a doubt, it is the realization that genocides are not only the result of deranged leaders that seize power in some remote country under unique circumstances. Instead, they are monstrosities that all societies can generate and many people can become a perpetrator. The evolution of the social sciences, psychology, and biology as well as advances in the diagnostics of these social processes have affected me profoundly, they have sensitized me, and I have felt that from then on that prevention is not only a possibility to avoid massive violence, but that it is an emergency and all of us have an important role to play in carrying it out.
What long-term actions and policies do you believe are the most effective in the prevention of mass atrocities?
Education, Education, and Education. Sufficient resources exist to carry out this task: a bigger commitment from the international community; the history of genocides and mass atrocities over the past hundred years that show that we have not been good at preventing at the moment we needed to be doing so; bearing in mind the consequences of the humanitarian tragedies that last for generations in the countries affected; the instruments of International Human Rights Law that require states take measures for prevention and to expand education on this matter.
Who or what inspires or motivates you in your work?
Argentina has been an example in the international community of how a society that has been affected by mass atrocities can recuperate its self-esteem and how the lessons of its violent history can serve as a base for a superior agenda on human rights that permits staunching the wounds, that permits advancing the fight against discrimination, in the public consciousness, in the respect for plurality and diversity, etc. Therefore, having the possibility of recounting our history, of sharing experiences with other cultures that have also been affected, of searching for new working tools, and generating initiatives to advance prevention is an immense challenge that motivates me every day.
What advice would you give to a new government official who has just entered the field of genocide prevention?
First of all: try to learn as much as possible. Luckily, there are many initiatives in the international community, such as AIPR, at work in this field that are great instruments, which really help states with training. Equally important is connecting oneself with officials from the governments of other countries who are also working in this area. The concept of building networks is fundamental to enhancing the results that one can obtain from all of these lessons and experiences, which have an very positive impact in the formulation of prevention policy in government.