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Office of The Special Adviser on The Prevention of Genocide

Work of the Office

Engaging with Partners

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The flag of the United Nations
(UN Photo/John Isaac)

The Special Advisers work to alert relevant actors to the risk of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, enhance the capacity of the United Nations to prevent these crimes, including their incitement, and engage with Member States, regional and sub-regional arrangements, and civil society to develop more effective means of response when they do occur.

The Special Advisers, alone, cannot prevent these crimes. They therefore work to strengthen the ability of other actors to do so, in particular Member States, the UN system, regional and sub-regional organizations and civil society. In addition, these same actors provide information and knowledge to the Office without which it cannot act as a mechanism of early warning. The Office’s partnerships are therefore central to its execution of the mandate.

Please follow the links below for more information on the Office’s work with:

Go back to the top of pageUN Partners

Much of the work of UN departments, programs, agencies and independent experts is of direct relevance to the work of the Office. Collectively, they represent a vast resource for information, analysis, policy and strategy recommendations and implementation. The Office coordinates closely with relevant UN partners to maximize the impact of resources and to avoid duplication or contradiction in the UN’s action to address a given situation. In addition to ad hoc relationships, the Office engages on a regular basis with the following UN entities:

Inter-departmental bodies

In May 2012, the Office assumed the responsibilities of co-chair of the United Nations Inter-Agency Framework Team for Coordination on Preventive Action (Framework Team) for a one-year period. The Framework Team constitutes a forum that includes 22 UN departments and agencies. Its Expert Reference Group (ERG) works for the coordination of strategies and activities on conflict prevention, while incorporating the distinct perspectives provided by each Group member. Although it meets at UN headquarters, its members are closely connected to their field offices. The Framework Team supports UN Resident Coordinators and Country Teams in developing integrated prevention strategies, and works to identify and deploy the technical resources required for their implementation. In May and June 2012, the Framework Team undertook consultations to identify priority situations for early engagement to promote measures for conflict and atrocity prevention, as well as measures to strengthen the effectiveness of this internal coordination mechanism.

Departments, Programs and Specialized Agencies

Go back to the top of pageRegional/sub-regional organizations

In addition to the devastating loss of life, the humanitarian, financial, security and political costs of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity (RtoP crimes) are enormous. These are shouldered not only by the State in which these crimes occur, but also by their neighbours. While all of humanity must unite to prevent, halt and punish genocide and related crimes, these crimes can be particularly effectively addressed by groups of states that share the consequences of mass atrocities in their region. Elsewhere, the risk of occurrence of RtoP crimes is, by its very nature, a sensitive issue, and one that States can shy away from discussing when they feel they have been singled out. Regional and sub-regional organizations can therefore provide opportunities to engage States on the prevention of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity in a pro-active, non-threatening manner. Effective global-regional cooperation is therefore fundamental to realizing the promise embodied in the responsibility to protect. Special Advisers Francis Deng and Edward Luck have prioritized the strengthening of collaboration with regional and sub-regional organizations and their Member States in order to spread awareness of the root causes of genocide and other mass atrocities and to strengthen preventive action, including early warning and response mechanisms. In this vein, the Office is working with a number of regional and sub-regional organizations, including the Organization of American States (OAS), the European Union (EU), the African Union (AU), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), International Committee on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN). Looking forward, the Office is working also to establish links with the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the League of Arab States and will continue to expand its partnerships.
International Conference on the Great Lakes Region

On 23 September 2010, following the Office’s training seminar for government officials and representatives of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) in Kampala, the Office participated in the founding meeting of the ICGLR’s Regional Committee for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, War Crimes, Crimes against Humanity and all forms of Discrimination. The Committee is the world’s first sub-regional body created specifically to prevent and punish mass atrocity crimes, a significant step in fighting impunity in an African region. The ICGLR Protocol draws from the 1948 Genocide Convention and the Rome Statute of the ICC. The establishment of the Committee provides a practical opportunity for the region to build a legal framework for the prevention and punishment of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Office participated in the second and third meetings of the ICGLR Regional Committee in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo on 25-26 May 2011 and in Zanzibar, Tanzania, on 10-11 December 2011. At the Brazzaville meeting, the Committee Members agreed to take legal and/or administrative steps to establish national committees for the prevention of genocide and mass atrocities and report to the Summit by end 2011 on their action. In Zanzibar, at the third meeting of the Committee, members discussed developments of concern in the eleven Member States, reviewed the status of each national committee, set priorities for 2012 and discussed ongoing collaboration with the Office to establish regional and national coordination and early-warning mechanisms.

On 8 February 2012, the Office participated in the fourth meeting of the Regional Committee.  Committee members discussed situations in the eleven Member States relevant to its work and reviewed the status of each national committee.  The Office’s participation focused on its ongoing cooperation with the ICGLR, specifically the provision of technical assistance to establish early warning strategies and mechanisms for the prevention of genocide and related crimes at national and regional levels. The Office also provided capacity-building seminars for the ICGLR Regional Committee and to the Tanzania National Committee on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, War Crimes and all forms of Discrimination to develop a framework for early warning for the prevention of genocide and related crimes in February 2012. The seminars included modules on establishing a framework for prevention, on strategies and methodologies for developing an effective early warning system for risk factors of genocide and related atrocities and on how to develop a regional or national action plan for early warning and early response.

On 21-23 August, the Office conducted a capacity building seminar with the newly-formed Kenya National Committee on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, War Crimes and all forms of Discrimination. Aimed at assisting the committee to establish its early warning and coordination mechanism for preventing and responding to genocide and related atrocity crimes, the seminar examined the ICGLR Protocol for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, War Crimes, and Crimes Against Humanity and All Forms of Discrimination, the causes and dynamics of genocide, as well as strategies and methodologies to build an effective early warning system for atrocity crimes. In the course of the workshop, the nascent National Committee developed a draft national action plan for early warning and early response.

On 15-16 October 2012, the Office organised a capacity building seminar and provided technical assistance to the Uganda National Committee of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity and all forms of Discrimination in Kampala, Uganda. The training focused on the ICGLR Protocol for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, War Crimes, and Crimes Against Humanity and All Forms of Discrimination, causes and dynamics of genocide and related crimes, as well as establishing early warning and coordination mechanisms for preventing and responding to genocide and related atrocity crimes.  Committee members also examined how to develop a national action plan for early warning and early response.

On 18-19 October 2012, the Office hosted the fourth meeting of the ICGLR’s Regional Committee.  A keynote speechPDF document, delivered on behalf of Special Adviser Adama Dieng, commended the leadership of the region for establishing the first legal and political framework for the prevention of atrocity crimes and urged the Committee to find ways to stop the occurrence of atrocity crimes in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and to actively take steps to prevent genocide and other related crimes and violations.  The remarks also reiterated the importance of fighting impunity and upholding the rule of law for prevention. Committee members reviewed the draft terms of reference for the Committee and the status of the action plans for the Regional Committee. The Office supported the Committee in drafting the rules of procedure, which were adopted by the Committee at the conclusion of the meeting, along with its workplan for the coming year, as highlighted in the final CommuniquéPDF document of the meeting.

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17-20 December inter-faith workshop on “Maintaining Sustainable
Peace and Social Cohesion in Tanzania: Role of Religious Leaders
Photo credit: ICGLR

On 17-20 December 2012, the Office supported the Tanzania National Committee in organizing an inter-faith workshop in Dar-es-Salaam on the prevention and mitigation of religious conflict in Tanzania. Entitled  “Maintaining Sustainable Peace and Social Cohesion in Tanzania: Role of Religious Leaders”, the workshop brought together 70 participants from Zanzibar, Pemba and Mainland Tanzania to discuss and dialogue on religious factors that have been a source of tensions in the country. The workshop created a platform for religious leaders to work closely with the Tanzania National Committee to manage ethno-religious conflicts in Tanzania as part of national efforts to prevent genocide and other atrocities. Keynote remarksPDF document were delivered on behalf of Mr. Dieng to the workshop.

 

 

On 15 February 2013, the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide provided technical assistance for a workshop organised by the Kenya National Committee that brought together 72 people, including government officials, community leaders and civil society representatives, from the six counties of the Costal Region.  The participants discussed measures that could be taken at the local level to prevent the risk of violence in the electoral period.

Latin American Network on the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocity Crimes

On 28-30 March 2012, the Office participated in the launch of the Latin American Network for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention. This Network has been established under the leadership of Argentina (the Secretariat for Human Rights of the Ministry of Justice, Department of Human Rights of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship), Brazil (the Secretariat of Human Rights at the Office of the President), and the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation. The network, comprising 18 participating States, aims to develop a community of genocide prevention-sensitive civil servants and to contribute to regional dialogue on individual and collective efforts for the prevention of genocide and mass atrocity crimes in the region and beyond. The Office endorsed the initiative and proposed options to strengthen regional cooperation on this matter.

In November 2012, the Office collaborated with the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation to provide training to support the Latin American Network for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocity Crimes in Buenos Aires, Argentina and in Montevideo, Uruguay. See more information about this training seminar.

On 17-19 April 2013, the Office participated in the initial inter-departmental discussion on prevention of genocide and atrocity crimes in Paraguay. This two-day discussion was organized by the Office of the Ombudsman, and included representation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Education and Culture, National Police, National Congress, Attorney General, Supreme Court, Ministry of Public Administration, Institute for Strategic Studies, Center for the Documentation and Archive for Human Rights Protection, Ministry of Women and Secretariat for Children and Adolescents. The Office discussed the establishment of an early warning system for atrocity prevention as well as the work and mandate of the Office and avenues for collaboration.  The meeting concluded with the agreement that Division of Truth, Justice and Reparation of the Ombudsman’s Office will act as focal point for the Latin American Network in Paraguay. The next steps include establishing the legal basis for a national atrocity prevention mechanism and developing a national programme on atrocity prevention.

African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights

On 18 February 2013, the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide briefed an Extraordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) in Banjul, the Gambia, on his mandate and discussed situations of concern in the African region.  He also discussed ways to strengthen the implementation of the responsibility to protect in Africa. 

Economic Community of West African States
During an outreach mission to West Africa, Special Adviser Adama Dieng met with the Vice President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on 14 December 2012.  Expressing concern about country situations at risk of genocide or other atrocity crimes in the region, Mr. Dieng discussed the work and the mandate of the Office, and how the Office could collaborate with ECOWAS to support national and regional efforts to prevent genocide and related crimes in West Africa.
Organization of American States
The Office is working with the Organization of American States on options to strengthen the regional framework for the prevention of atrocity crimes. On 5-7 March 2012, the Office took part in a session of the Inter-American Juridical Committee of the Organization of American States, held in Mexico City. The Office presented its mandate and work to the Committee and discussed options for measures that could be taken to strengthen the framework for prevention of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.
European Union

The Office is in process of establishing an operational partnership with the European Union External Action Service, with a particular focus on information collection and analysis, and training. The partnership would include the establishment of specific arrangements that will allow for cooperation in the collection of early warning information and for the development of mass atrocity prevention training modules for European Union External Action Service officials at Headquarters and in the field.

On 25 April 2012, the Office participated in a roundtable discussion hosted by the Task Force for the Improvement of the European Union’s Capacities to Prevent Mass Atrocities and the Foundation for the International Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities, in Brussels, Belgium. The meeting brought together leading experts in conflict and mass atrocities prevention and representatives of European Union (EU) institutions, Member States and NGOs to take stock of the EU’s current capabilities and practices in atrocity prevention and to discuss options for improving the warning-response linkage.

On 5-6 March 2013, Special Adviser Adama Dieng met with senior officials from the European Union’s External Action Service, including the divisions responsible for multilateral relations, global issues, security policy and conflict prevention, as well as with the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office. During these meetings, Mr. Dieng discussed the mandate and work of the Office and his priorities for the coming year, including increased engagement with the Security Council and closer cooperation with regional and sub-regional organisations.  He also discussed the capacity of the European Union to prevent and respond to atrocity crimes. Building on cooperation with the Task Force on the European Union Prevention of Mass Atrocities throughout 2012, Mr. Dieng participated in the presentation of the report by the Task Force, entitled “The EU and the Prevention of Mass Atrocities – An Assessment of Strengths and Weaknesses”. This presentation was organised by the Budapest Centre for the International Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities.  

Intergovernmental Authority on Development
On 21-22 June 2012, Special Adviser Deng participated in a meeting of regional conflict experts convened by the Conflict Early Warning and Response Mechanism (CEWARN) of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). Held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the meeting drew together officials of IGAD Member States and representatives of civil society, as well as regional experts on conflict early warning and prevention, to develop a new strategic approach to identifying and preventing threats of violent conflict in the IGAD region. Participants focused on identifying the way in which different dynamics combine to produce and threaten violent conflict; the standards for data collection, analysis and dissemination; and how to build effective networks of people and institutions that can prevent or moderate violence. Among key risk factors, they identified economic change and volatility, migration, state capabilities, food security, natural resource competition, climatic volatility and environmental degradation, and demographic change.
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
The Office continues to work closely with the Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) High Commissioner on National Minorities, including on sharing of information and cooperation on assessment of country situations in the OSCE area.
Collaboration with the African Union

In November 2009, Francis Deng addressed the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council and the AU Panel of the Wise. The two institutions expressed their support for the mandate and work of the Special Adviser and the Panel of the Wise called for the incorporation of the Office’s Analysis Framework into the African Union’s early warning mechanism.On 2-3 April 2012, Special Adviser Deng took part in the meetings of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel on the Sudan and South Sudan in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Panel has been facilitating negotiations between the two countries on a range of outstanding issues including security and the situation of Abyei. Mr. Deng also held consultations with senior officials of the African Union, the Ethiopian Government and the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU), among others, on matters relevant to his mandate.

On 22-23 April 2013, the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide conducted a high-level mission to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he me with the African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security and the Head of Legal Counsel. In these meetings, Mr. Dieng emphasised the need for the African Union to embrace the responsibility to protect principle, as enshrined in the African Union’s Constitutive Act. They also discussed country situations of mutual concern.

Go back to the top of pageCivil society