"Mass atrocities" is a non-legal catch-all term for ethnic cleansing, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. Atrocity crimes can occur in peacetime or during conflict.
Mass atrocities pose one of the biggest threats to human security and global stability; and the incidence of mass atrocities is rising. In addition to their appalling human costs, mass atrocities generate cross-border refugee flows, increase the risk of terrorism, carry economic consequences beyond those of 'regular' civil wars, and perpetuate global instability. Yet these crimes can often be prevented and their root causes interrupted.
Identity-based violence, including mass atrocities, must be understood as a truly global phenomenon - one that cuts across many policy issues. Just like other global challenges, like climate change or organised crime, the effective prevention of mass atrocities requires a joined up, holistic strategy.
Atrocity prevention does not necessarily require new mechanisms, but simply applying a way of thinking to our decision making, whether as individuals, as political parties, or as governments.