Seminar on Strategies for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention in Buenos Aires

On June 24 and 25, the Latin American Program of the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Argentina – Focal Point of the Latin American Network for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention – co-organized a seminar covering strategies for genocide and mass atrocity prevention. The activity was organized in accordance with AIPR’s regional agenda and its strategic institutional ties with Argentina’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.The seminar welcomed 25 public officials and featured an instructional team of national and international experts. The event worked to create opportunities to analyze and reflect on principles, tools, and mechanisms for prevention and the existing challenges for their responsible application by countries of the region.

The 2-day activity included a review of the concept of genocide and mass atrocities as a process, a prevention-centric approach, the national and international tools for atrocity prevention within the framework of the principle of the Responsibility to Protect, and the international responsibility to prosecute the commission of mass atrocities. It also analyzed the role of identity and memory in atrocity prevention, as well as the mandate and role of sites of memory in Argentina.

Lastly, within the framework of Argentina’s commitment to the Latin American Network, the regional representative of the UN High Commission on Refugees presented an analysis on the current challenges faced by Latin America in terms of atrocity prevention. This fostered a dialogue among governmental officials and civil society organizations with a regional scope that helped give shape to debates and joint actions currently being developed in Latin America.

The seminar also included a keynote speech by Dr. James Waller, director of AIPR Academic Programs and Cohen Professor for Genocide and Holocaust Studies at Keene State College, in which he presented his work on the psychology of mass atrocity perpetrators entitled “Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Atrocity.” More than 140 people attended the talk and subsequent cocktail reception. To see a short highlight video, click here.

According to Eugenia Carbone, Director of AIPR’s regional office in Buenos Aires and Technical Secretariat of the Network:

Convening this type of gathering has allowed for a confirmation of the commitment made by the local community – represented here by public officials, academia, human rights bodies, and the corporate sector ­- by opening spaces for collective work and creative initiatives that will progressively incorporate prevention elements in Argentina’s agenda for the protection of human rights.