New York

11 December 2014

Deputy Secretary-General's remarks at Launch of the “Framework of Analysis for Atrocity Crimes – a tool for prevention” - From Early Warning to Early Action: The Contribution of New Tools and Non-State Actors to an Effective Prevention Strategy [as

Thank you for inviting me to this meeting.  It gives me great pleasure to launch an important new mechanism, a new tool, for the prevention of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. 

The Framework of Analysis for Atrocity Crimes has been developed by the Office of the Special Advisers on the Prevention of Genocide and on the Responsibility to Protect, my colleagues Adama Dieng and Jennifer Welsh. 

It is the result of two years of research and consultation.  I would like to thank them warmly for this initiative and for their leadership on these crucial issues for the                   United Nations and the world community.

2014 has been a troubled and turbulent year.  We have witnessed large-scale violence and widespread suffering – in Iraq, Syria, the Central African Republic and South Sudan and many other places.  There has been important cooperation among States to provide assistance to populations affected by these crises.  But we need to do much more to prevent crises and protect populations.

The new tool we launch today can help us reach this vitally important goal.  It is an analysis and risk assessment tool which uses a specific set of risk factors, with related indicators, to help identify and prevent atrocity crimes.

Under-Secretary-General Adama Dieng will later today speak about the uses and advantages of this new tool.  I will simply highlight that it could be extremely useful for promoting a systematic approach to assess the risks of atrocity crimes as well as the opportunities for preventive action.  It allows us to track how a situation is evolving over time and to analyze how to prevent a crisis from deteriorating or re-lapsing. 

As this Framework of Analysis demonstrates, atrocity crimes rarely happen suddenly – they often evolve and develop over time.  Therefore, well before tensions escalate to violence, there are many opportunities to take action.  We must all be aware of those moments and act as early as possible.

Our responsibility to prevent atrocity crimes is a well rooted obligation under international law.  When we now approach the 10th anniversary of the 2005 World Summit, we must remember that all Member States at that high level meeting acknowledged their responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

But let us remember - words, commitments and obligations are hollow, unless translated into concrete and effective action. 

We at the United Nations are keen to learn from our own past experiences and that includes our failures.  We must seek ways to improve our ability to respond to situations that could give rise to atrocity crimes.  It is with this in mind that the Secretary-General last year launched the Human Rights Up Front initiative.

By this initiative we are placing human rights, the protection of civilians and the prevention of atrocity crimes, at the heart of our work.  The Framework has already been used under the Human Rights Up Front initiative.  It has contributed to a more coordinated approach to assess information on human rights situations, and to take action in specific cases like South Sudan and the Central African Republic.

The Framework is a public document and should, as such, be owned collectively.  I urge all of you, Member States, United Nations colleagues, civil society actors, media -- all who are dedicated to prevention and protection -- to disseminate and make use of this tool.  Sounding the alarm, mobilizing preventive action, promoting resilient societies, these are tasks for all of us.

Finally, let me thank the Permanent Missions of Italy and Tanzania for their support for this event.  Your commitment to prevention efforts sets a much appreciated example.  We have important work ahead of us.

Thank you.