The Genocide Prevention Group hosted a panel discussion on how the current economic recession may potentially impact human rights and crimes against humanity.
The themes and expert panel guiding the discussion were as follows:
1. “Recession Breeds Repression”
Dr. David Gillies and his colleague, Mr. Abraham Sewonet Abatneh from the North-South Institute, discussed how the current economic recession is a stressor and catalyst for conflict. The recession may breed repression by reducing commodity export revenues, remittances and foreign exchange and increasing unemployment levels and food prices. In countries with no or “frayed” social safety nets, this can lead to repression, conflict and crimes against humanity. Mr. Abatneh illustrated this with case studies of Southern Sudan, Haiti and Ghana.
2. The Economic Recession and Canadian Foreign Policy
Dr. Manfred A. Bienefeld from the School of Public Administration at Carleton University discussed the longer-term issues that breed recession and governments that are not responsive to their citizens. He argued that the situation in Somalia is an example of what could occur if we do not build a degree of cohesion. He further contended that Canada is not immune to difficulties arising from the economic recession and that we need to focus on the broader structures that cause these problems.