We believe the United Kingdom can and should be a global leader in its contribution to the prevention of mass atrocities. While not always described as such, the UK already makes substantial contributions to the prevention of identity-based violence and atrocities. At the same time, some of its actions contribute to making the risks of atrocities more likely.
As a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, a founding member of NATO, and a leading aid donor, the UK Government plays a critical role in steering global prevention and protection efforts. Likewise, the UK has significant national capacity to integrate these commitments throughout its trade, development, defence, foreign, and domestic policies.
In 2015, we launched our atrocity prevention programme tasked with enhancing UK contributions to predicting, preventing, and responding to mass atrocities. Our team work with the UK's government, parliament, and civil society to improve understanding and strengthen implementation of timely, effective atrocity prevention. We work across the political spectrum and across sectors in the UK to encourage the integration of ‘prevention thinking’ to decision making and to secure a national strategy atrocity prevention.
We work to elevate the atrocity prevention agenda to a more prominent position in the UK, not as a means of replicating or replacing existing efforts within the broader human rights movement, but in fact to join-up and reinforce those efforts which are too often seen as being unrelated. We know that the prevention of genocide and crimes against humanity requires something different from or additional to more traditional interpretations of conflict prevention, peace building, and other important overlapping agenda.
But we could never, nor wished to, do this alone. In 2017 we established the UK Civil Society Atrocity Prevention Working Group, a network of some 25 UK-based civil society organisations and experts working in different ways to help preventing identity-based violence and mass atrocities.