Preventing atrocities

A cemetery with identical, white gravestones at the Srebrenica Genocide Memorial in what is now Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Cemetery at the Srebrenica Genocide Memorial in what is now Bosnia and Herzegovina: more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys were murdered here in July 1995. © Shutterstock

Switzerland is committed to identifying and addressing potential causes and risks at an early stage. It is involved in efforts around the world to help states create national strategies, mechanisms and structures for preventing war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and ethnic cleansing. Each individual state is responsible for protecting its population against these. No state is safe from atrocities.

The international network Global Action Against Mass Atrocity Crimes (GAAMAC) was established in 2013 on the initiative of Switzerland, which currently chairs its Steering Group. Both states and civil society organisations are represented within GAAMAC because it is essential to ensure that all sections of society, not just governments, are involved in preventing atrocities. To help states create suitable structures, GAAMAC operates a platform for dialogue, knowledge transfer and best practices.

GAAMAC holds a global meeting every two years. The third of these took place in Uganda in May 2018 and welcomed non-government organisations and research institutes as well as more than 50 states. Some 52 states had attended the second global meeting in the Philippine capital Manila in February 2016, and the same number had been present at the first in Costa Rica in March 2014

Video message from Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis on GAAMAC III (fr)

The network coalesced from a number of regional conferences on genocide prevention organised by Switzerland in conjunction with Argentina, Cambodia and Tanzania between 2008 and 2013. GAAMAC established its Support Office in Geneva in October 2017.

Global Action Against Mass Atrocity Crimes

Switzerland also works closely with the United Nations on the prevention of atrocities – in particular the UN Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect.

UN Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect