In collaboration with The Uganda National Committee for the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity and All Forms of Discrimination, the Africa Programs Office (APO) of the Auschwitz Institute organized an international virtual seminar event entitled “Early Warning and Early Response to Prevent Identity Based Violence.” 53 attendees from Uganda and other countries, both inside and outside of the African continent, participated in the August 24 interactive webinar. These key stakeholders represented Ugandan government ministries and domestic political opposition, foreign missions and other international organizations, domestic and regional civil society groups, as well as religious and cultural institutions, academia, and the media.
AIPG collaborates with the Uganda National Committee to promote policies and programs that increase individual, institutional, and public knowledge and awareness of mass atrocities and their prevention. This collaboration centers particularly on matters pertaining to issues, processes, and mandates for countering burgeoning threats and building resilience through opportunities for the prevention of identity-based violence.
This virtual seminar builds upon the AIPG APO’s continued work in the Great Lakes Region, which focuses on national and community-level rights, roles, and responsibilities for effective prevention. Specifically, the event highlighted key issues related to identity-based violence, which are emerging as Uganda prepares for an uncertain 2021 election cycle in addition to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic.
Currently, ethnic differences and other social divisions in Uganda are appearing more frequently in public discourse, primarily through mainstream and social media. Equally, the number of related arrests being made by authorities in response is escalating. With this in mind, the virtual event worked to provide insight into the ways in which identity has played a central role in Uganda’s conflict history and how an urgent response to these escalating challenges contributes to the prevention of future violence. Additionally, webinar attendees benefitted from an extended Q&A segment with participating experts.
In response to the high level of interest generated by the Early Warning and Early Response webinar, the Auschwitz Institute’s APO is working to establish a programming schedule that would allow for these events to be held regularly in the future. Equally, a report on the contents of the webinar’s presentations and interactive discussions is currently being developed.