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  • Mariana Goetz

Preventing and Punishing the Steps to Genocide

Updated: Jan 22, 2021

Join us on Tuesday 26 January, 3 - 4.30pm GMT.

Please register for the event here:

On the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we remember that “Genocide is a process, not an event. [And that] the Holocaust did not start with the gas chambers, it started with hate speech.”[1]

States have the duty to prevent and punish genocide and other mass atrocity crimes. How can we prevent and punish the steps that lead to mass atrocities? The existing human rights framework is fragmented, with protected groups differing from one Convention to the next. Could international principles against hate-based violence bring some clarity and focus? Could international standards on police reporting of hate crimes help? Could a UN reporting framework that uses a hate crime approach assist the work of the Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide? Could reporting that identifies bias motivation for human rights violations providing an evidence base for Security Council resolutions in fragile State contexts, making clearer linkages with the steps to genocide?

At this event, chaired by Judge Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi, President of GAMAAC and former President of the International Criminal Court, participants will:

  • Explore the notion of hate based violations and the gaps that exist in international law [Mariana Goetz, Director Rights for Peace]

  • Discuss the implementation of the UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech, exploring how it can be used as a tool by UN actors to address and counter hate on the path to genocide [Dr. Sejal Parmar, Lecturer in Law, University of Sheffield and Visiting Professor, Central European University]

  • Discuss the Role and responsibilities of religious leaders in addressing incitement to hatred and violence [Michael Wiener, Human Rights Officer, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights]

  • Explore Frameworks for Minority Rights and Upstream Prevention [Carl Soderbergh, Director of Policy and Communications, Minority Rights Group]

Event Agenda and Speaker Bios can be downloaded here (subject to changes).

Rights for Peace’s new Guide to Hate Violations in International Law brings together provisions and mechanisms relating to hate-based human rights violations and international crimes into a single volume to support the work of human rights practitioners and activists. Download the Guide here.

For those interested to continue the discussion in a follow up round table or group please contact us here.


[1] Sheri P. Rosenberg, Genocide Is a Process, Not an Event, Genocide Studies and Prevention 7, 1, (April 2012): 16–23.

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