Does it matter if the subject of mass atrocities is named as: an ethnic, national, racial or religious group; civilian; population; perpetrator, victim, bystander or rescuer; or something else? These are some of the “names” that are currently in use in the broad field that works on large-scale, systematic atrocities under a range of rubrics: […]Continue Reading →
Not everyone will agree with this presentation of the challenges facing the field or how the field of genocide and atrocity prevention should respond to its challenges. However, the strength of a field is not measured solely by its points of consensus, but also the vibrancy of its debates. This paper attempts to outline both areas of consensus in the field and the knowledge base that informs it, as well as areas of contention. To this end, it aims to be provocative in highlighting debates that are already underway in the field of genocide and atrocity prevention. The questions raised in this paper do not lend themselves to easy answers nor necessarily to consensus, and this may not be desirable. Instead, it is a hope that they contribute to the field’s capacity for self-criticism and reflection, while also challenging it to reach out to other fields to share insights and join forces.Continue Reading →
Because of our country’s painful racist past, South Africans tend to see all human rights violations through the prism of white vs black. Learning about the Holocaust, where, in very general terms, whites killed whites and Rwanda where blacks murdered blacks is hugely important.Continue Reading →
The views of victims, perpetrators and bystanders about genocide and how the term itself translates culturally and linguistically in different regions may provide another more place-based understanding of such crimes. Of course, this is unlikely to change whether or how policymakers use ethically loaded terms, but it might help scholars and others interested in helping resolve such conflicts to better interpret the nature of such crimes and the expectations of affected communities.Continue Reading →
The negotiation of land distribution and horizontal inequalities, direct causes of the conflict, meaningful transitional justice mechanisms, including prosecution of perpetrators, and indigenous territorial autonomy, was at best sidelined, at worst bluntly sacrificed, in order to lower resistance of the parties to the accords to sit at the negotiation table and sign the peace. Moreover, the process was undergirded by the framework of universal individual rights over and above social, economic and cultural rights, rights that would have gone some way towards addressing certain structural causes of violent conflict.Continue Reading →
[…] one might expect a debate over endings on matters of intergenerational impact, political deployments of history, and survivor health, access to power and wealth, in addition to legal proceedings for crimes with no statute of limitations, or the social impact of demographic change.
What is surprising is that even in terms of recognizing the termination of acts of mass violence, the debate is a minefield.Continue Reading →
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