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Policy Brief: The Relationship Between Violations and Abuses of Human Rights and the Commission of Atrocity Crimes

12 Nov 2021 1:30

The Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect (GCR2P), a GAAMAC Steering Group member, has published a briefing paper examining the relationship between mass atrocity crimes and human rights violations and abuses, highlighting that such violations and abuses may precede and significantly elevate atrocity risks and may also constitute atrocity crimes themselves if certain thresholds or conditions are met.

The policy brief, entitled “The Relationship Between Violations and Abuses of Human Rights and the Commission of Atrocity Crimes” argues that while not all human rights violations and abuses indicate an imminent atrocity risk, nor  necessarily directly cause crimes, understanding how they may constitute atrocities or enable their occurrence is an essential step in strengthening the capacity of human rights mechanisms to prevent atrocity crimes.

Understanding the intrinsic link between human rights violations and abuses and atrocity crimes helps clarify the root causes and drivers behind such crimes. However, the opportunities this link provides for more robust and structural atrocity prevention can only be effective if they are properly leveraged.

The GCR2P concludes that there is need for a systematic inclusion of an atrocity prevention lens in all human rights mechanisms, particularly HRC-mandated mechanisms, so that early warning signs and risk factors for atrocity crimes can be identified.

The policy brief also recommends increased international will to cooperate with and act on recommendations made by these mechanisms, which requires greater effort to bridge the gap between UN bodies in New York and Geneva, including through inviting Geneva-based mechanisms to brief the UN Security Council.

Read the full policy brief