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Seminar-Workshop on Human Mobility and Migration in Guatemala

On May 31-June 1, 2018, the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation and The Stanley Foundation organized a seminar-workshop entitled “Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention and the Protection of Groups in Situations of Vulnerability: Displaced Peoples and Migrants in Latin America.” Taking place in Guatemala City, Guatemala, the event was held in collaboration with the United Nations Office of the Special Advisers on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect (OSAPG) and the Unit for the Prevention of Crime and Violence of the Guatemalan Ministry of Governance.

The two-day seminar-workshop welcomed the participation of relevant actors in Latin America, including public officials as well as representatives of civil society organizations and international bodies. The event was designed with the objective of providing an introduction to the concepts of genocide and other atrocity crimes, the processes by which they occur, and practical tools to enable the application of these concepts to contemporary challenges in human mobility.

The seminar-workshop began on May 31 with an opening ceremony, featuring remarks made by Jhefry Morán from the Viceministry for Violence and Crime Prevention, Eugenia Carbone, the Director of AIPR’s Latin American Program, and Keith Porter from The Stanley Foundation. Over the course of the first day, the concepts of genocide and mass atrocities as a process were explained and existing international, regional, and national mechanisms for the prevention and punishment of these crimes were presented. Within this framework, the event covered ideas on the progressive development of legal definitions for international crimes that fall under the category of mass atrocities, as well as the role played by the United Nations in this process. A representative of the UN OSAPG made a presentation on the international standards related to the Responsibility to Protect and shared practical tools for the identification of mass atrocity risk factors. The first day of the event concluded with an introductory module on the situation of risk and vulnerability experienced by migrants and displaced peoples in Latin America from a prevention-centric point of view, a theme that would continue to be considered during the second half of the seminar-workshop.

During the second day, several case studies of Latin America were examined, allowing for the causes, consequences, and current challenges in migration and forced displacement in Central America and Venezuela to be discussed. These working modules formed the basis for the subsequent interactive segment. From this, participants produced concrete proposals for opportunities and strategies involving state-civil society cooperation to address the situation of migrants and displaced people from a prevention perspective.