On November 21-22, the Auschwitz Institute and the Office of the Ombudsperson of Colombia co-organized a seminar-workshop entitled “The Prevention of mass atrocities in the context of the current migration crisis in Colombia,” with support from the German Federal Foreign Office through the Zivik Funding Program operated by the IFA (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen). The activity took place in Bogotá and welcomed participants from national institutions, the Office of the Ombudsman and its regional delegations, as well as representatives of Colombian civil society organizations.
The activity looked to foster knowledge and practical competencies among participants that is required to: (i) understand the processes that lead to genocide and other mass atrocities, as well as their relationship with mass migration; (ii) identify risk factors for genocide and other mass atrocities throughout the migration process, and (iii) strengthen the capacities of the Colombian Ombudsperson office on the protection of Venezuelan migrants.
The opening ceremony was led by Jorge Enrique Calero Chacón, Deputy Ombudsman of Colombia, Monsignor Héctor Fabio Henao, National Director of Social Pastoral, and Eugenia Carbone, Director of the Auschwitz Institute’s Latin American Program. During the first day, modules were delivered on the concepts of genocide and mass atrocities and the analysis on risk factors for mass atrocities within in the framework of the migration crisis. Later, a migration map of Colombia was presented to participants alongside a discussion on actions that had been taken related to both early warning and risk assessment.
On the event’s second day, the participants were introduced to regional, national and international responses to the migration crisis, and the Office of the Ombudsperson facilitated a discussion session related to the perspectives and current challenges that the institution faces in the protection of migrant rights. Participants had the opportunity to share proposals and potential lines of work to strengthen the technical tool that is being developed by the Ombudsperson’s Office and the Auschwitz Institute within the framework of a joint project on human mobility and prevention. This activity reflected the working relationship and the commitments assumed under the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Ombudsman of Colombia and the Auschwitz Institute in 2017 and complemented the contents introduced at the Seminar on Atrocity Prevention Tools and Early Warning Mechanisms that took place during 2018.