Building Resilience to Genocide

27 April 2018
In a policy brief for the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation, Dr. Deborah Mayersen outlines practical, evidence-based recommendations to build resilience to genocide in at-risk countries.

The brief highlights the importance of focusing on the local: prioritizing local perspectives in identifying and finding solutions to risk factors; paying attention and avoiding escalation in high-risk areas; and ensuring robust and sustained international and regional reactions to local escalations.

Governments of at-risk countries should be assisted rather than shunned through strong diplomatic relations, the building of deep relationships, and minimizing perceptions of threats, including to the sovereignty of the at-risk state.

Words and deeds matter: Bystanders, that is outside groups, should build relationships between and with vulnerable groups. Challenging potentially dangerous dominant narratives, including through digital freedom and unfettered internet access, is vital.

Finally, policy options during high-risk situations must avoid idle threats, such as identifying “red lines” and then failing to follow through with threatened action. In extreme circumstances, refugee corridors, which allow populations under threat to flee certain areas, can also be a good measure to save lives in the short term.

The policy brief demonstrates that genocide and its prevention are processes. By focusing on proven strategies to decrease risk and increase resilience, countless lives can be saved.

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