HOLOCAUST. PREVENTION OF GENOCIDE.
Argentina’s experience in the fight against impunity for crimes against humanity consolidates our role as leaders in the fundamental debates of the international community on prevention of genocide and other mass atrocities. In this context, Argentina participates in the main discussion mechanisms on prevention of genocide.
REGIONAL FORUM FOR PREVENTION OF GENOCIDE
Together with Switzerland, Tanzania and Cambodia, Argentina has organized since 2008 a series of forums aimed at encouraging debate between government officials from countries of different regions in the world, in charge of the issue of prevention of genocide and other mass crimes, with a view to incorporating States committed to the issue into a global network of countries willing to maximize their efforts in this area.
The first such forum was held in Buenos Aires in December 2008, the second one took place in Arusha (Tanzania) in March 2010, and the third one was organized in April 2011, in Bern (Switzerland).
The fourth and last forum, held in 2013, was the first one to take place in Asia (Cambodia). It was attended by more than 170 participants from 24 countries of the Asia-Pacific region and by representatives of the United Nations, various regional agencies, international NGOs and experts in the field.
GLOBAL ACTION AGAINST MASS ATROCITY CRIMES (GAAMAC)
As a logical follow-up to the abovementioned regional forums, a decision was made to create GAAMAC, an international cooperation network through which various existing networks on prevention of genocide and Responsibility to Protect (R2P) have an opportunity to deepen cooperation on prevention of mass atrocities such as war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
GAAMAC is a global, inclusive, state-led voluntary network, whose partners have an interest in preventing atrocities. Its goal is to build an open global forum to facilitate networking, experience and information sharing and knowledge exchange between States and Organizations interested in implementing prevention of mass crimes.
In 2014, the first international meeting of this initiative was held in San José de Costa Rica and its participants included Argentina, Australia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Switzerland and Tanzania.
GAAMAC’s partners include representatives of the United Nations, regional agencies and non-governmental organizations such as the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation, the Global Centre for R2P, the International Coalition for R2P, the FXB Centre for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University, S-CAR at George Mason University, and the Stanley Foundation.
LATIN AMERICA NETWORK FOR GENOCIDE PREVENTION
The Latin American Network for Genocide and Mass Atrocities Prevention was created in 2012 on the initiative of the governments of Argentina and Brazil and is made up of representatives of government agencies of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. It is a governmental effort by the countries of Latin America aimed at building the regional and national bases for genocide and mass atrocity prevention, as well as the empowerment of Latin American States so that they may become leaders in the field in the international scenario.
The initiative enjoys the support of the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR), the Office of the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide (OSAPG) and the Stanley Foundation.
The network works on the design of a curriculum proposal that is being implemented through bi-annual seminars. A meeting of the network’s focal points is held with the same frequency, with a view to sharing the progress made by each member country in the field of genocide prevention.
INTERNATIONAL HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE ALLIANCE (IHRA)
Argentina is the only Latin American country that serves as a full member of IHRA, a government-led initiative that enjoys active participation by civil society organizations. Its goal is to lend political and social support to promote Holocaust education, remembrance and research, with a view to preventing the repetition of acts of intolerance and discrimination which may lead to tragedies such as those suffered by mankind in the 20th century, the Holocaust being the most paradigmatic example.
IHRA (formerly the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research, or ITF) was initiated in 1998 by Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson and currently has 31 member countries: Germany, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, United States, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Netherlands, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Romania, Serbia, Sweden and Switzerland. Professor Yehuda Bauer, former director of the Yad Vashem Research Institute, serves as Honorary Chairman. The Group is open to any State wishing to participate.
Members must adhere to the 2000 Stockholm Declaration on Holocaust and accept the principles adopted by IHRA concerning membership. Moreover, they must undertake to implement domestic policies and programmes in support of Holocaust education, remembrance and research. The governments that make up IHRA agree on the importance of resorting to all archives, both public and private, so that information on any possible past participation in the Holocaust may be widely accessible. IHRA has also established specialized committees in order to address issues such as anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial, the situation and genocide of the Romani people (gypsies), memorial sites, information projects, other comparable genocides and special challenges regarding Holocaust education. IHRA’s web page (https://www.holocaustremembrance.com/) contains an international directory of organizations dedicated to its goals, an international calendar of events, a directory of archives, information on the financing of projects and additional information on the Group.
IHRA organizes two plenary meetings every year in the country holding the pro-tempore chair for that year. In 2015, the chair was held by Hungary.
Argentina began participating in IHRA in June 2002 and became a full member in 2006. It has assumed the responsibility of making this organization known in the region, as well as disseminating its activities and recommendations, with a view to incorporating Holocaust education to curriculums, effectively transferring the memories of the Shoah to new generations, and designing social early warning systems to prevent propagation of negationist and anti-Semitic ideologies. Support for the goals of the organization is one of Argentina’s most committed state policies and, accordingly, our country strongly rejects any attempt to deny the Holocaust, by co-sponsoring United Nations resolutions passed in this respect.
In order to ensure active participation in IHRA and effective implementation of its initiatives at a domestic level, a Permanent Consultative Board was set up to serve as a “Local Chapter” of the international organization.
The Board is made up of the Ministry of Education; the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights (through the Secretariat of Human Rights); the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship; the Argentine Institute against Discrimination, Xenophobia and Racism (INADI); the Argentine Advisory Commission on the Integration of Persons with Disabilities (CONADIS) and the following civil society organizations: the Argentine-Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA), B’nai B’rith Argentina, the Anne Frank Centre, ICUF, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, Plural Jai, the Delegation of Argentine-Israelite Associations (DAIA), the Holocaust Museum Foundation, Generations of the Shoah Argentina, the Centre for Holocaust Studies, Sherit Hapleitah, the Argentine Jewish-Christian Confraternity, the Coordinating Board of Private Education Associations (COORDIEP), the New Rights of Man Association and the Superior Council of Catholic Education (CONSUDEC).
The chairmanship of the Local Chapter rotates among the three Ministries on an annual basis. Its purpose is to coordinate the group and call meetings to exchange information and discuss potential activities and initiatives. It should be noted that this group has proposed numerous initiatives and projects, including commemorative events, education workshops, seminars, production of documents, exhibitions, courses and additions to curriculums. The creation of the Local Chapter, where government and civil society representatives meet at least once a month, is one of the reasons why the work of Argentina within the framework of IHRA is so active and significant at an international level. This regular dialogue is undoubtedly the best guarantee of consistency, continuity and effectiveness of the initiatives adopted to promote shared goals.