1.5 million Armenians. 3 million Ukrainians. 6 million Jews. 250,000 Gypsies. 6 million Slavs. 25 million Russians. 25 million Chinese. 1 million Ibos. 1.5 million Bengalis. 200,000 Guatemalans. 1.7 million Cambodians. 500,000 Indonesians. 200,000 East Timorese. 250,000 Burundians. 500,000 Ugandans. 2 million Sudanese. 800,000 Rwandans. 2 million North Koreans. 10,000 Kosovars. Genocides and other mass murders killed more people in the twentieth century than all the wars combined.
“Never again” has turned into “Again and again.” Again and again, the response to genocide has been too little and too late.
During the Armenian genocide and the Holocaust, the world’s response was denial. In 1994, while 800,000 Tutsis died in Rwanda, State Department lawyers debated whether it was “genocide”, and the U.N. Security Council withdrew U.N. peacekeeping troops who could have saved hundreds of thousands of lives.
Genocide is the world’s worst intentional human rights problem. But it is different from other problems and requires different solutions. Because genocide is almost always carried out by a country’s own military and police forces, the usual national forces of law and order cannot stop it. International intervention is usually required. But because the world lacks an international rapid response force, and because the United Nations has so far been either paralyzed or unwilling to act, genocide has gone unchecked.
The Alliance Against Genocide is an international coalition dedicated to creating the international institutions and the political will to end genocide forever.
The Alliance Against Genocide has four goals:
1. The provision of public information on the nature of genocide and creation of the political will to prevent and end it.
2. The creation of an effective early-warning system to alert the world and especially the U.N. Security Council, NATO and other regional alliances to potential ethnic conflict and genocide.
3. The establishment of powerful rapid response forces in accordance with Articles 43-47 of the U.N. Charter, as well as regional rapid response forces, and international police ready to be sent to areas where genocide threatens or has begun.
4. Effective arrest, trial, and punishment of those who commit genocide, including the early and effective functioning of the International Criminal Court, the use of national courts with universal jurisdiction, and the creation of special international tribunals to prosecute perpetrators of genocide.
Genocide Watch is the current Coordinator of the Alliance Against Genocide. This Alliance is an international, de-centralized, global effort of many organizations. In addition to its work for institutional reform of the United Nations, it is a coalition that brings pressure upon governments that can act on early warnings of genocide through the U.N. Security Council. The Alliance has its own NGO early warning system and its own website: www.genocidewatch.net . Bypassing the secrecy of government intelligence services, the Alliance has created an early warning network to provide truly confidential communication links that allow relief and health workers, whistle-blowers, and ordinary citizens to create an alternative intelligence network that will warn of ethnic conflict before it turns into genocide.
The Alliance Against Genocide covers genocide as it is defined in the Genocide Convention: “the intentional destruction, in whole or in part, of a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such.” It also covers political mass murder, ethnic cleansing, and other genocide-like crimes against humanity. It will not get bogged down in legal debates during mass killing.
Building the political will for action is the major task. Among the defense mechanisms used to justify non-action is denial of the facts. So the first job in preventing and stopping genocide is getting the facts in clear, indisputable form to policy makers. Most of that job is done by CNN and the news media. But conveying the information is not enough. It must be interpreted so that policy makers understand that genocidal massacres are systematic, or that the portents of genocide are as compelling as warnings of a hurricane. Then options for action must be suggested to those who make policy, and they must be lobbied to take action.
The Alliance Against Genocide works to create political will through:
1. Consciousness raising — maintaining close contact with key policy makers in governments of U.N. Security Council members, providing them with information about genocidal situations.
2. Coalition formation –working in coalitions to respond to specific genocidal situations and involving members in campaigns to educate the public and political leaders about solutions.
3. Policy advocacy — preparing options papers for action to prevent genocide in specific situations, and presenting them to policy makers.
The Alliance Against Genocide concentrates on predicting, preventing, stopping, and punishing genocide and other forms of mass murder. It brings an analytical understanding of the genocidal process to specific situations. It does not simply study genocide or hold conferences, but attempts to prevent genocide, and build institutions that can end genocide forever.
The Alliance’s current headquarters location near Washington, D.C. permits it to influence U.S. foreign policy, a key to forceful humanitarian intervention when genocide threatens. But it also has key organizational members in the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, Israel, Iraq and other countries. It is an international effort that works with governments of U.N. Security Council members to create the political will for United Nations, rather than unilateral intervention.
The Alliance’s coordinator is Genocide Watch, School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University MS 4D3, Arlington, VA. Telephone: 1-202-643-1405. FAX: 703-993-1302. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org website: www.genocidewatch.net