Anti-genocide Activists and the Responsibility to Protect

On 13 July, 2017, The Hague Institute will host the book launch of ‘Anti-genocide Activists and the Responsibility to Protect.’ The book launch will be followed by an in-depth conversation on the challenges and future of atrocity prevention and anti-genocide activism.

Although the Genocide Convention was already adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1945, it was only in the late 1990s that groups of activists emerged calling for military interventions to halt mass atrocities. Who are these anti-genocide activists and what motivates them to call for the use of violence to end violence?

Annette Jansen studied the beliefs and worldviews of two groups of anti-genocide activists: East Timor solidarity activists and Responsibility to Protect (R2P)-advocates. Based on eleven months of field research and 71 in-depth interviews, Jansen analysed the ideological convictions on the base of which these activists make moral judgments on human suffering and violence.

The book argues that there is an existential undercurrent to the call for mass atrocity interventions. It concludes that the rise of anti-genocide activism signals a shift in humanitarian sensibilities to human suffering and violence. This shift has substantial implications for moral judgments on human lives at peril in the humanitarian and human rights community.

On the occasion of the book launch, the Hague Institute, peace organisation PAX, and the author warmly invite you to attend an in-depth conversation on the challenges and future of atrocity prevention and anti-genocide activism. After a presentation by author Annette Jansen, Alex de Waal, Executive Director of the World Peace Foundation, Research Professor at The Fletcher School (TUFTS University) and R2P-critic, Jason Ralph, co-director of the European Centre for the Responsibility to Protect and Professor in International Relations at the University of Leeds, and a PAX representative, will engage in a discussion on some of the book’s findings.

Topics of discussion are the worldviews and beliefs motivating atrocity prevention; the alleged normative shift in humanitarianism from protecting the rights and lives of individuals to protecting the lives and rights of groups; how to effectively halt mass atrocities such as in Syria and the increase of excessive violence against civilians more broadly, and; how to prevent atrocities and address the rising xenophobia, racism and hate speech in Europe. The discussion will be facilitated by Thea Hilhorst. A representative of the publishing house Routledge will be present at the book stand.

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