Warning Signs and Prevention of Genocide
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Nigeria faces political tensions around postponed elections and heightened by attacks by extremist Islamist group Boko Haram and excessive use of force by its security forces. Boko Haram attacks have led to at least 5, deaths since and the pace is quickly increasing with reports of as many as 2, people killed at the start of and attacks expanding to broader territory.
Meanwhile, Nigerian security forces have been implicated in several instances of abuse. This mix of threats make it likely that another atrocity incident like the kidnapping of some Nigerian girls by Boko Haram in will happen again in Thousands of civilians have been killed in recent years in Pakistan as a result of sectarian attacks and fighting between security forces and militants.
Military offensives displaced over a million people last year and an attack on a military-run school by the Pakistani Taliban at the end of killed at least people, including children. Security forces have responded with their own abuses including torture, disappearances, and extrajudicial killings. With continued fighting and terrorist attacks, the risk of atrocities in Pakistan in is likely to remain high.
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Despite advances in security in Somalia in recent years, the state remains fragile and open to attacks. Al-Shabaab militants have been weakened but continue to control large areas and carry out attacks in Somalia and Kenya. Abuses by government forces and inter-clan fighting add to the general instability and will keep Somalia high on the list of countries at risk of mass atrocities.
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Sri Lanka is still suffering from one of the largest but least known cases of mass atrocities in recent years. Both sides committed war crimes and crimes against humanity and demands for accountability from the UN remain unfulfilled.
Added to the risk factors of a recent history of violence and lack of accountability are a government crackdown on critics and the rise of ultra-nationalist Buddhist movement linked to violence similar and in some ways linked to what is being seen in Burma. The threat faced in Ukraine is clear in terms of geopolitical consequences between Russia and the West, but less so in terms of the risk of atrocities. But if peace efforts fail and Moscow becomes more involved in promoting the separatist region then tensions between the separatists and Ukraine could dramatically rise and the risk for atrocities as well.
Early Warning Project of the U. Holocaust Museum Center for the Prevention of Genocide.
The 10 stages of genocide
Human Rights Watch World Report International Crisis Group Crisis Watch. Council on Foreign Relations Conflict Tracker. Help stop genocide before it starts. Act Now! Watch List. Home Watch List.
Experts and organizations dedicated to monitoring warning signs of genocide have identified 10 countries to keep an eye on for risk of mass atrocities: Afghanistan Although the transition of power in Afghanistan was smooth last year, the country still poses great threats that ensure to be far from peaceful. Burundi With a history of mass violence along ethnic lines and political tensions high ahead of elections in , Burundi has been identified by many observers as high on the list of countries at risk of mass atrocities.
Guinea The list of risk factors in Guinea includes recent violence, elections, and the added strain of the Ebola crisis. It has happened. Organized policies passed by elected U. The Holocaust took the international community by surprise. In hindsight, there were many signs.
All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Prevention of Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity
In fact, scholars have learned a great deal about the danger signals for the risk of large-scale violence against vulnerable groups. In , the founder and first president of the U. Stanton , introduced a model that identified eight stages — later increased to 10 — that societies frequently pass through on the way to genocidal violence. But it has been influential in our understanding of the sources of mass violence in Rwanda , Burma , Syria and other nations. As Stanton makes clear, these processes are universally human.
They do not necessarily result in a progression toward mass violence. He labeled out-groups , hinted at dark conspiracies , winked at violence and appealed to nativist and nationalist sentiments. He has demanded discriminatory policies including travel restrictions and gender-based exclusions. Stanton writes that polarization further drives wedges between social groups through extremism. Hate groups find an opening to send messages that further dehumanize and demonize targeted groups. Political moderates are edged out of the political arena, and extremist groups attempt to move from the former political fringes into mainstream politics.
Certainly, there are reasons for deep concern.
Philosophers take their red pens to student essays that commit it. But when a president is called on to address his nation in times of political turmoil, the claim of moral equivalence is a lot more than an undergraduate mistake. We suggest this is a deliberate effort to polarize, and an invitation to what comes after polarization.
Polarization is a warning of the increased risk of violence, not a guarantee. Extremist groups can have their financial assets frozen.