Genocide is loosely defined as the destruction of a targeted civilian group within a nation, usually perpetrated by the nation’s leaders. The term came into being after World War II, due to the efforts of Raphael Lemkin, a Polish-Jewish lawyer who lost his family in the Holocaust and invented the word ‘genocide’ (geno is Greek for race or tribe and cide is Latin for killing), to define what happened in the Holocaust. Lemkin’s lobbying led to the word being codified in 1948 by the United Nations. However, genocides have occurred throughout history.
According to Gregory Stanton, a genocide scholar and activist whose definition of the Ten Stages of Genocide is widely used, genocide is the world’s worst intentional human rights problem, which because it is almost always carried out by a country’s own military and police forces, cannot be stopped by the usual national forces of law and order. Thus it often requires the intervention of outside parties.
This paper reviews what can and is being done to prevent genocide: the strategies, policies, and practices directed toward anticipating and arresting the onset of this significant violence prior to its occurrence. It focuses on genocide prediction (risk assessment and early warning) and non-military interventions that can be undertaken to avert outbreaks. It highlights the genocide prevention work of various bodies worldwide, including the United Nations, regional groups, governments, non-governmental organizations (both in-country and external), and other civil society entities. Much coverage is given to structural resilience initiatives that build strength within a nation to withstand genocidal accelerators. Conversely, the reasons for non-action by external parties are also detailed. And finally, case studies of several situations where genocides have been averted are provided.
The goal of this paper is to illustrate that genocide prevention can be achieved, with the understanding that it requires significant resources and efforts to not only bring to light and counter the strong forces which move a nation toward atrocities, but to also to overcome the impediments to action by external parties.
|Department:||Holocaust and Genocide Studies|
|School Location:||United States -- New Jersey|
|Source:||MAI 81/7(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Holocaust Studies, Peace Studies, Political science|
|Keywords:||Early warning, Genocide, Genocide interventions, Genocide prediction, Genocide prevention, Risk assessment|
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