The Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation, through its Latin American Program, serves as Technical Secretariat of the Latin American Network for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention. Launched in March 2012, the Network is the world’s leading initiative fostering capacity building and policy development in this field. Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called the Latin American Network an effective “partnership for prevention.”
The Network provides a space for the exchange of best practices for public officials. Among its goals, the Network aims to institutionalize a culture of genocide prevention throughout Latin America’s governments, which can serve as an example to be followed in other regions worldwide. This is achieved through national programs, regional initiatives, and a curriculum on genocide and mass atrocity prevention, finalized and approved by all member states. As Technical Secretariat, the Auschwitz Institute supports all participating institutions of member states of the Network by co-organizing training seminars and by assisting in the development of a unified national policy on genocide prevention. Member countries of the Network include: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, México, Nicaragua, Panamá, Paraguay, Perú, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
The structure of the Network is based on the establishment of national and/or ministry focal points, who are charged with their respective government’s or ministry’s participation in the Network. As a product of increased participation, in various member states this focal point structure has evolved into what are known as national mechanisms for genocide prevention. These mechanisms involve representatives from all areas of government in organizing the participation of their country in the Network, as well as in the development of a unified national policy on genocide prevention.
The Latin American curriculum on genocide and mass atrocity is piloted through bi-annual Lemkin Seminars held on the site of the former German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oświęcim, Poland, and at predetermined locations in Latin America. The Latin American edition of the Lemkin Seminar addresses the region’s current realities and the strengths of the regional system in dealing with 1) systematic human rights abuses of the past; 2) the rights of indigenous peoples; and 3) the rights of political groups. Seminar participants will become the instructors that will facilitate the national implementation of the curriculum in their respective countries after 2016.
Beyond the educational component, each member country of the Network has been tasked with the identification of areas within their governmental structure where programs in genocide and mass atrocity prevention can be implemented. These national initiatives range from the establishment of inter-ministerial training seminars on genocide prevention, to policy development on the protection of indigenous populations. The latter programs first prioritize a national review of how governmental policies impact the most marginalized groups in each country. The goal is then to implement policy changes aimed at the inclusion of these groups into the political process, allowing them to actively take part in ending their political and social marginalization.
The Network and AIPR are committed to a localized approach to genocide and mass atrocity prevention spearheaded by the individual member countries themselves. This initiative is owned by the region – it was conceptualized and initiated by Latin American states, and each member country is the driving force behind the unprecedented development and progress the Network has seen since its inception. Regional ownership is the most important factor in effective long-term genocide prevention practice and policy in Latin America.
- La Red – The Official Website of the Latin American Network for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention
- Annual Reports of the Latin American Network for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention
- Latin American Network Brochure [English | Spanish]
- Lemkin Seminar, Latin America Edition
- The Latin American Network Facebook Page