Genocide prevention in 2014 and beyond with Adama Dieng, UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide

When the Honorable Adama Dieng arrived in Ottawa on February 25, he said his office had decided to strengthen commitment with parliaments. For Mr. Dieng, parliaments are the most important entity because they express the will of the people and play an important role in ensuring that the executive follows the wishes of the people. However, he said the challenge lies in how to get parliaments more involved in preventing genocide and engaging in the Responsibility to Protect.

Based on his experience, Mr. Dieng reminded parliamentarians that no country or region can consider itself immune from atrocity or genocide. Because of this, he said there is a need to remain vigilant – atrocity crimes are processes and not a singular event.

During the GPG session, Mr. Dieng identified Central African Republic as a country of particular and grave concern. He has provided the Secretary General and senior colleagues of the UN with a report of the violence and on the interplay of parties. The report highlighted the increased risk of sectarian violence. The report publicly warned the international community and engaged with senior UN colleagues to identify immediate actions, sustainable and long-term solutions. He also identified South Sudan as a situation of concern. Moreover, his office has been monitoring Myanmar since 2009, but authorities are still reluctant to let his office travel there. In Syria, Mr. Dieng’s office has organized civil society organization training for the post-conflict situation as he strongly believes that we must think about the “after” now.

Mr. Dieng, welcomed the leadership of Senator Dallaire and the GPG in prioritizing genocide prevention and putting it on the political agenda. Mr. Dieng declared that it was time for Canada to think of institutionalizing its role in prevention of genocide and atrocity crimes, saying other countries have national institutions and organs which have representatives from government organs including defense and justice.