Grant Recipient presents at IHRA Plenary

On 4 November, IHRA was pleased to welcome Owen Pell, a Member of the Board of the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation(AIPR), to present the Latin American Network for Genocide and Mass Atrocities Prevention to IHRA delegates. 

The IHRA has co-funded the Latin American Network since 2014 and in 2015 the project was awarded the 'Yehuda Bauer Grant', given to outstanding projects which have a particular emphasis on multilateral cooperation. In 2014 the Latin American Network trained 48 officials from 18 countries.

During his address, Mr Pell stated “after the events in Rwanda, Srebrenica and Kosovo…. Secretary General Kofi Annan was moved to ask ‘how should we respond to gross and systematic violations of human rights that affect every precept of our common human dignity.’ The founding of the IHRA reminds us that one response to Kofi Annan’s question is to use these humanitarian tragedies to learn where and how the conduct of States must change and grow if we are to address effectively the scourge of genocide and mass atrocity crimes that have plagued the pursuit of human dignity since time immemorial.”

The Latin American Network was founded in 2012 by 18 nations. Each nation commits itself to a two-week training curriculum with AIPR; the first week of training takes place in the former Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. Consistent with the work of the IHRA, the AIPR employs the Holocaust as a teaching tool in forward-looking genocide prevention. The initial focus of training is the process of genocide followed by an introduction to the preventive measures states can take in response to the warning signs of genocide.

The second week of the training curriculum takes place at a site in Latin America that has borne witness to atrocity crimes. This second week focuses specifically on issues of atrocity prevention in the context of Latin America and is dedicated to topics identified by the Latin American Network as key to the development of atrocity prevention policy in the region.

AIPR is working to build a world that prevents genocide and other mass atrocity crimes. Since 2008 it has trained over 500 government officials from more than 75 countries. Through education and technical assistance the AIPR aim to support states to develop or strengthen national mechanisms for the prevention of genocide and other mass atrocities. The AIPR also aim to encourage states to cooperate for the prevention of genocide and other mass atrocities through regional and international efforts.

Mr Pell is a Partner at White & Case and has been involved with the AIPR since 2005. According to Mr. Pell, he is dedicated to the work of AIPR because his legal practice exposed him to “the processes that continue to cause genocide to occur around the world, and because the law, by itself, cannot prevent genocide and mass atrocity, highlighting the need for other approaches to interrupt the cycles that lead to genocide.”

The full text of Owen Pell’s address can be read here.

The Latin American Network also recently published the Declaration of the Latin American Network for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention.