Atrocity Prevention & Responsibility to Protect, led by Ivan Šimonović, joined Columbia Global Policy Initiative in 2016.
In the 2005 UN World Summit Outcome Document, world leaders affirmed their responsibility to protect populations from atrocity crimes: genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. However, this commitment has not been carried through in practice; current global trends are negative and atrocity crimes are on the rise.
To improve atrocity prevention, early warning should be followed by early action. There has been some success in the development of an early warning mechanism, based on the Framework of Analysis for Atrocity Prevention, which identifies risk factors and indicators. However, knowledge of actions that need to be taken is lagging behind.
Atrocity Prevention & Responsibility to Protect aims to close this gap and provide empirical evidence on which measures, taken when and by whom and in which combination, have the best chance to reduce the risk of atrocity crimes. It is supported by various UN departments (the UN Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Department of Political Affairs and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations), who signed an Interoffice Arrangement on cooperation in this research project. Such an unusually large buy-in by the UN system will facilitate practical implementation of the research results.
Results of the research will be reflected in a lessons learned study (to be issued in 2017) which contain a hypothesis which will, after being tested in practice during second phase of the research, be used to produce the UN atrocity prevention policy guidance for practitioners, including UN and regional organizations, Member States and civil society (to be issued 2018). It will also contribute to enhancing cost effectiveness of resources invested in atrocity prevention.