Advising and Mobilizing

UN Rights Chief and Advisor on Genocide Prevention visit South Sudan. UN Photo/Isaac Billy
UN Rights Chief and Advisor on Genocide Prevention visit South Sudan. UN Photo/Isaac Billy

The Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide is mandated to alert the Secretary-General and through him, the Security Council, about situations where he considers there is a risk of genocide. The Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, by working to develop the conceptual, political and operational aspects of this principle, also plays an early warning role in the prevention not only of genocide but also of war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. Together, the Special Advisers work to identify risks of atrocity crimes, alert partners within and outside the United Nations to situations where there is a risk of these crimes, recommend preventive action and mobilize the United Nations system, Member States, regional and sub-regional arrangements and civil society to prevent or halt these crimes.

The Special Advisers’ advising and mobilizing actions can take several forms. Within the United Nations, they advise the Secretary-General on situations of concern and consult with United Nations partner departments, agencies, funds and programmes on possible courses of action. Also, they raise situations of concern at inter-agency forums, ranging from the Secretary-General’s Senior Management meeting to, at the working level, country-specific inter-agency task forces. The Special Advisers’ Office is also engaged in the system-wide prevention mechanisms established under the Secretary-General’s Human Rights Up Front initiative. The Special Advisers can also convene key Under Secretaries-General in crisis situations, where appropriate to discuss policy and strategy options.

Meeting organised by the Office with religious leaders from Europe. Photo by OGPRtoP
Meeting organised by the Office with religious leaders from Europe. Photo by OGPRtoP

Outside the United Nations, the Special Advisers partner with regional and sub-regional organizations, Member States and civil society organizations to advance collective prevention and response efforts. They provide technical assistance on the integration of atrocity crimes prevention within the political and operational policies of those actors, as well as on measures to address situations of concern. The Special Advisers also engage in quiet diplomacy with Member States, in coordination with other partners in the United Nations system, when this can contribute to facilitating prevention and protection efforts. As part of their advising and mobilizing functions, the Special Advisers may issue public statements on situations of concern and address them in public forums, as needed. They also encourage and support civil society actors to use their voices, with the same objective.

Check out some of our projects:

Prevention of incitement to violence that could lead to atrocity crimes
The role of religious leaders in the prevention of incitement to violence