Preventing Genocide and Promoting Peace in Iraq through Grassroots Outreach and New Technologies
This panel will present the work of the Iraq Project for Genocide Prevention as an example of a grassroots-based approach to genocide prevention. The three panelists will each discuss a different aspect of the work we have been doing together and separately since 2016, emphasizing the use of grassroots modalities to support human security in a country and a region characterized by palimpsestic genocide. We will make a case for the importance of engaging the global grassroots in prevention strategies and retheorizing genocide prevention in a way that empowers communities to solve problems from the bottom up, including through the use of intensive, on-site workshops, train the trainer sessions, online education, regional summits, and the development of context-specific prevention materials in regional languages. In particular we will focus on the need to create a global genocide prevention App that has the ability for people to document, analyze, and communicate the experiences of their communities in local, regional, and global contexts. Drawing on recent events in northern Iraq, Syria, and Nagorno-Karabakh, we will offer ideas of how such an App can be developed, what it should include, and the transformative effects it can have on how we approach genocide prevention as a more horizontal and globally integrated community.
Presentations of the Symposium
International Solidarity and Genocide Prevention: Silenced Histories & New Frameworks for Action
Like the Convention that recognized genocide as an international crime, the field of genocide prevention has been deeply influenced by post-1945 political realities, particularly the Cold War and its aftermath. These influences have guaranteed that prevention has remained largely an elite, state-based, Western, and military effort that defines the grassroots primarily as the recipients of prevention rather than its agents. This paper will examine the history of the emergence of prevention mechanisms by focusing on silences and aporia that have narrowed the frameworks and the mandates informing praxis. Drawing on experience in conducting grassroots genocide prevention initiatives in Iraq, it will sketch some of the ways in which local prevention work can challenge and disrupt the academic and political assumptions about genocide prevention and accountability while offering thoughts about new ways forward in national, regional, and global contexts.
Collective Approaches to Accountability and Justice: The Case of Iraq
The purpose of this paper will be to present the empirical work on genocide prevention and accountability to be carried out by the Iraq Project. In this particular presentation, I will focus on accountability and justice as essential interconnected elements for the prevention of atrocities. Furthermore, I will explore the idea of working for accountability and justice from a collective approach. From this perspective, a collective approach will return the power to resolve the conflict to the community, including victims and perpetrators; therefore, presenting an alternative and complement to institutional accountability. Despite the fact that the State appropriated the conflict, in a criminological sense, it appears as necessary to look for alternative forms of justice in order to heal the victims and the community, preserve the memory and prevent future crimes.
Born of ISIS Genocide: Risk of Statelessness and Stigmatised Nationality Acquisition for Children of Yezidi Survivors
Children born to Yezidi survivors of genocidal rape during Islamic State (ISIS) captivity are likely to face a future interspersed with difficult realisations about the tragic circumstances of their coming into this world. In the shadow of the trauma endured by their mothers, many are subject to the legacy of genocide. One such manifestation is their civil documentation predicament, as they are trapped between the risks of statelessness and the possibility of acquiring a dangerously stigmatised nationality that associates the children with their perpetrator fathers. Considering the human rights and best interests of such children, this paper unpacks the legal, religious and social dimensions that complicate their ability to access the right to a nationality, and traces the evolving community discourse on the issue. The central claim is that in exceptionally tragic circumstances, accessing a stigmatised form of nationality may be just as problematic as the plight of remaining stateless. Despite some initial ‘creative’ informal solutions to the problems the laws have (so far) failed to solve, the paper concludes by turning to the international community to fill the gap in protection available to these children.