3P Program Manager John Filson presented at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research’s (UNITAR) Seminar on the Prevention of Genocide in New York City on January 23, 2013. The seminar was a collaborative effort between UNITAR and the UN Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect that aimed to give its participants a deeper understanding of the definitions of genocide as well as strategies for the prevention of genocide.
John spoke about the comparative frameworks of 1) Genocide Prevention focused on Early Warning and preventing outbreaks of mass atrocities, and 2) Conflict Prevention focused on the long-term structural conditions that lead to violent conflict, including episodes of mass violence.
Genocide and mass atrocities do not happen in a vacuum, but always in the context of long-standing dynamics between groups in conflict such as political exclusion, economic exploitation, mutual mistrust and demonizing between groups, and historical grievances. As an analytical framework, Conflict Prevention provides additional tools that compliment Genocide Prevention and Early Warning mechanisms to prevent not only atrocities but also address the long-term conditions that cause them.
The practical benefits of linking Genocide Prevention and Conflict Prevention frameworks is an on-going area of work for the Alliance for Peacebuilding and 3P Human Security. 3P Director Dr. Lisa Schirch is currently conducting research on how these frameworks operate similarly or differently in practice, and how prevention scholars and practitioners can build better synergies between these two important approaches to increase the overall effectiveness of violence prevention in settings of conflict.