NEW YORK, June 11, 2013 – Policymakers from 22 countries gathered May 27 and 28 at the Arusha International Conference Center in Arusha, Tanzania, for “Best Practices and New Opportunities in Genocide Prevention: Governmental Action, Technology, and Regional Contexts,” to share with one another their experience and expertise in organizing government and formulating policy to prevent genocide and mass atrocities on the national, regional, and sub-regional levels.
Representing ministries of justice, foreign affairs, defense, and human rights institutions, the 80 women and men who attended were all alumni of the Raphael Lemkin Seminar for Genocide Prevention , an educational program run by the Auschwitz Institute since 2008 on the site of the former German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim, Poland. Also present were members of non-governmental, inter-governmental, and civil society organizations.
The meeting — co-organized by the Ministry for Constitutional and Legal Affairs of Tanzania, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Tanzania, the UN Office of the Special Advisers on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, and the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR) — featured three panel discussions and a working group session.
The first panel, moderated by AIPR Academic Programs Director James Waller, took up the question of how new technologies can aid in genocide and mass atrocity prevention. The speakers were Zachary Romanov, Philanthropy Engineer, Palantir Technologies; Daudi Were, Project Director – Africa, Ushahidi; and Friederike Bubenzer, Senior Project Leader, Institute for Justice and Reconciliation. The second panel focused on how mechanisms of international justice contribute to prevention, featuring Adama Dieng, UN Special Adviser on Genocide Prevention, and James Arguin, Chief of Appeals Division, Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
The third panel featured African civil society organizations, discussing their work to prevent genocide and mass atrocities in their home countries and regions and highlighting the opportunities for cooperation between government and civil society. It was moderated by Mr. Donald Deya, Chief Executive Officer, Pan African Lawyers Union, Arusha, Tanzania. Speakers included Dr. Stephanus Francois Du Toit, Executive Director, Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, South Africa; Ms. Valnora Edwin, Director, Campaign for Good Governance, Sierra Leone; Ms. Delphine Serumaga, Executive Director, Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, South Africa; Dr. Chris Dolan, Director, Refugee Law Project, Uganda; and Mr. Dismas Nkunda, Co-Director, International Refugee Rights Initiative, Uganda.
Officiated by Prosper Mwangamila, National Committee for the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity, and all Forms of Discrimination, opening remarks were presented by Mr. Fred Schwartz, President and Founder, AIPR; Castro Wesamba, UN Office of the Special Adviser on Genocide Prevention; Andrzej Kacorzyk, Deputy Director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum; and Mathias M. Chikawe, Minister of Constitutional and Legal Affairs of the United Republic of Tanzania. Mr. Schwartz spoke of the “fundamental needs and aspirations of our varied societies” and meeting a progressive society’s needs of “sustainability, security, trust, and access.” Mr. Kacorzyk expounded on the importance of words, education, and tactile remembrances at memorial sites. Both captured the essence of why the meeting was held, setting the tone for the proceeding presentations and discussions.
The report, which contains comprehensive summaries of all the panels and presentations, can be downloaded here.