African Task Force on the Prevention of Mass Atrocities

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Programme

The African Task Force (ATF) is an 18-month initiative launched by the Budapest Centre for the International Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities. The ATF intended to map the State of the Art of preventive capacities in Africa by exploring opportunities and challenges faced by five regional organizations (AU, ECOWAS, IGAD, SADC and ICGLR). To achieve this goal the ATF examined regional efforts in preventing political instability and translating general commitment to preventing mass atrocities into practice. Following the successful experience of the 2013 EU Task Force (http://massatrocitiestaskforce.eu), the African Task Force provided opportunities to exchange views on best practices, challenges, and identified context-specific needs while elaborating on feasible policy recommendations that have been included in a Final Report that was released in October 2016.

Rationale

The International Community recognizes the growing significance of regional and subregional organizations in addressing issues and challenges of individual states. The inherent link between political stability and economic growth, and the great impact peace and stability have on economies and development is a fundamental tenet for regional development in Africa, particularly within countries with histories of conflict and political instability. Conducting a thorough review of the capacities and capabilities, as well as the needs of African key regional and sub-regional organizations, can contribute to shaping the agenda for their enhancement, encouraging new discussions on needs relating to security, development and human rights.

Objectives

  • Conduct a review of capacities, capabilities and needs of regional institutions in Africa (AU, ECOWAS, IGAD, SADC and ICGLR) to prevent mass atrocities including war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and ethnic cleansing;
  •  Encourage a ‘mass atrocities lens’ when assessing and responding to security risks and preparing and implementing development plans;
  • Synthesize lessons from the continental and global ‘state of the art’ to strengthen African technical and operational capacity in early warning and response (EWR).
  • Catalyze an assessment of African regional institution’s capacity and willingness to address political instability and prevent mass atrocities more effectively;
  • Enhance national and local capacities in Africa and improve the interaction with international actors and donors to prevent mass atrocities;
  • Promote dialogue as a tool for mass atrocities prevention among members of regional and sub-regional organizations and at national and community levels;
  • Raise awareness and translate general commitment of African States to atrocity prevention into practice by making prevention of mass atrocity crimes a priority of their policies.

Methodology

To maximize value to policymakers and other decision-makers in Africa, the Task Force utilized future “plausible scenarios” as a guiding tool for the Task Force Report. In the first phase of the research the Task Force conducted desk-based research. This phase leveraged an existing case/scenario within each regional organization and conducted a gap analysis of the needs emerging from that case history. This desk-based research phase informed the launch of the initiative at a Roundtable in March 2015 in the presence of representatives of the Regional and Sub-Regional Organizations examined in the project. The Task Force shared the results of the first round of research with regional representatives to stimulate dialogue and set the agenda for the qualitative research phase. In the second phase, smaller workshops took place at the headquarters of the Regional and Sub-Regional Organizations with local experts and stakeholders to collect data and exchange views on the results of the desk-based research. Summary reports were produced after each roundtable. In the margins of the workshops the researchers conducted interviews and focus groups with key representatives of the organizations. In the third phase, the Task Force analysed the data and then summarized the outcome of the research, consultations and interviews. The Task Force produced a State of the Art report on the current capacities of the organizations in January 2016. The Draft Report was discussed in a final roundtable in June 2016. The Report was finalized and released in October 2016. The Report was presented to the regional and sub-regional organizations, as well as to the United Nations, World Bank, European Union, and regional development banks in Africa.

Management and support

The project is managed by the Budapest Centre for the International Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities and supported by Humanity United.

Task Force Members

Chair: Hon. Samia Nkrumah

Senior Researchers responsible for:

AU: Dr. Ibrahim Wani & Dr. Bacre Waly Ndiaye

IGAD: Dr. Sunday Okello Angoma

SADC: Dr. Martha Mutisi

ICGLR: Mr. Willy Peter Nindorera

ECOWAS: Ms. Oury Traore

Management: Dr. Gyorgy Tatar & Dr. Enzo Maria Le Fevre Cervini (Budapest Centre)

Research Coordination: Mr. Mark A. Whitlock (consultant)

Research Supervision: Dr. Enzo Maria Le Fevre Cervini (Budapest Centre)

Learn more :

Download the final report of the African Task Force: HERE

Learn more about the members of the African Task Force HERE

SUMMARY Launch of the initiative African Task Force on the Prevention of Mass Atrocities – 18 March 2015