Last week saw the release of an invaluable guide for state policymakers involved in prevention of genocide.
“Compilation of Risk Factors and Legal Norms for the Prevention of Genocide” was produced by the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights, at the request of UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide Francis Deng, with the goal of “encourag[ing] States to fulfill their genocide prevention obligations.”
The Blaustein report takes as its starting point the framework of analysis developed by Francis Deng and his staff at the UN.
As the report notes: “Under the Genocide Convention and international human rights law, states are required to take measures to prohibit acts that could result in genocide. For the effective achievement of such measures, it is important to understand and be aware of the signs and circumstances that could be indicative of possible genocide. This document identifies the major risk factors that could lead to the perpetration of genocide, together with the special circumstances that could facilitate this. Further, it sets forth the legal norms and standards that correspond to each risk factor and that can be invoked to strengthen the basis for taking preventive action.” [emphasis added]
The hope is that having a comprehensive guide will make for more consistent analysis of events by states, the UN, NGOs, and other interested parties (“stakeholders”), which in turn will help identify what steps should be taken in each situation to stop the loss of human life.