The Americas Initiative was created in 2018 during GAAMAC’s third Global Meeting. Unlike Working Groups, it does not have a formal structure and conducts activities on an ad hoc basis, depending on needs. Nevertheless, the Initiative’s purpose is to translate GAAMAC’s vision into regional, culturally-relevant support to national atrocity prevention mechanisms and policies in the Americas.
The Americas Initiative currently focuses its research on gender in prevention of mass atrocities. This angle was chosen following the recognition at GAAMAC III that a gendered lens is needed at all levels for prevention efforts to be effective, that efforts should not be limited to responding to sexual and gender-based crimes, and that gender equality should be mainstreamed across prevention mechanisms.
The overarching priority for the Americas Initiative was to disseminate the findings of the 2021 policy brief on the prevention of conflict-related sexual violence.
- On 14 September 2022, GAAMAC’s partner in Colombia and co-author of the policy brief, Corporacion Humanas, convened an expert roundtable in Bogota to discuss how accountability for past crimes of sexual and gender-based violence can prevent future occurrences. The event gathered 28 experts from around the country. This meeting took place at a highly strategic moment, ahead of the National Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP)’s opening of a new case on sexual and gender-based violence during the Colombian civil conflict. A synthesis of their recommendations was sent to the JEP.
- A few weeks later, on 28 September, the other co-author of the policy brief Impunity Watch held a symmetrical event in Guatemala City. It presented the brief’s findings to 19 civil society and regional organizations representatives. The speakers emphasized the deep-rooted nature of violence against indigenous women during the conflict, entrenched in racist as well as misogynistic mindsets. A speaker from Colombia joined the event by videoconference to draw parallels between the two countries.
- On 26 October, utilizing the annual momentum of the United Nations open debate on Women, Peace and Security, Corporacion Humanas and Impunity Watch co-organized a side event for the diplomatic community in New York. Speakers travelled from Colombia and Guatemala and the panel was moderated by another partner of GAAMAC, the Global Justice Center.
In total, 53 people participated to the Americas Initiative’s activities.
91% women / 9% men
81% CSO / 17% regional/international organizations / 2% States
In 2021, the Americas Initiative published a policy brief “Lessons learned from armed conflicts in Colombia and Guatemala to prevent violence against girls and women”, in collaboration with local partner Impunity Watch, and Corporación Humanas, which went on to become a partner too in 2022.
Any state, non-government organization and academic institution involved in atrocity prevention is eligible to become a partner.
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