Philippines hosts GAAMAC II briefing at the United Nations

12 January 2016

On Tuesday, 15 December 2015, the Mission of Philippines to the UN organized a briefing on GAAMAC II for the UN community. 

Philippine’s Amb. Yparraguirre introduced the Second International Meeting of the “Global Action Against Mass Atrocity Crimes” (GAAMAC) on “Preventing atrocities: How to strengthen national atrocity prevention architectures” to nearly 50 attendees representing Member States and NGOs interested in atrocity prevention. This global conference is fast approaching to take place in Manila from 2 to 4 February 2016.

Ambassador Castro Cordoba of Costa Rica provided background information on the first international conference (GAAMAC I) held in San Jose in 2014 that brought together 52 states and 130 governmental, NGO and expert participants.

Ambassador Lauber of Switzerland spoke of GAAMAC as an open, inclusive, global, state-led effort to strengthen national architectures for prevention of atrocities.  He explained that GAAMAC aims to help States develop their internal mechanisms and capacities to ensure their own protection from mass atrocities, to offer what they have learned to other states with similar needs, and to raise the overall level of understanding and expertise to advance atrocity protection worldwide.

Mr. Mario Buil-Merce from the UN Office of the Special Advisors on Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect commended the upcoming GAAMAC II conference for offering specialized workshops on ‘inhibitors of atrocity crimes’ such as a professional and accountable security sector, independent judicial and human rights institutions, mechanisms to assess risk and mobilize response, local capacity to resolve conflicts, media capacity to counteract prejudice and hate speech, and capacity for effective and legitimate transitional justice. He encouraged States to use GAAMAC II to learn from each other on these topics and to request and commit bilateral assistance when the need for expertise on these matters arises.

Mr. Tibi Galis, Director of the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation, spoke of the work and commitment of civil society and nongovernmental organizations to build capacities for atrocity prevention and the state institutions and networks that they support. He said that GAAMAC is a partnership of States and NGOs that work to strengthen atrocity prevention, build capacities and support institutional development. He reaffirmed the importance of such groups working together on national, regional and international levels.

Amb. Yparraguirre concluded by inviting all attendees to consider sending representatives to the GAAMAC II conference in Manila.  GAAMAC is a marketplace of ideas and a meeting place for States to come together in a welcoming environment to learn from each other and other experts and to bring these good practices to their own countries.

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