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Building State Capacity to Prevent Atrocity Crimes: Implementing Pillars One and Two of the R2P Framework

David J. Simon
Policy Analysis Brief
September 2012

Implementing the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) requires a concerted domestic and international effort to build domestic atrocity-prevention capacity. This policy brief focuses on the first and second pillars of the doctrine, namely the aspects of state and local capacity building—assisted where appropriate through international cooperation—that offer the best hope of realizing R2P principles before the prospect of adversarial intervention arises. Working from a simplified model of how mass-atrocity threats unfold, the brief seeks to enumerate the types of interventions best suited to derail that process. It begins with state-level capacity building, consistent with the standard formulation of the first pillar of the R2P framework.

Because state authorities and individual elites are often complicit in mass atrocity crimes, however, a robust capacity-building effort should also reinforce the capacity of a broader cross section of stakeholders, including nonstate actors, to strengthen social and institutional resilience in the face of mass atrocity threats.

The brief then argues that international cooperation should support such in-country efforts, while noting some of the complications that are likely to arise in doing so. Finally, it suggests that domestic efforts and international assistance should be supplemented with ongoing internal reviews, peer evaluations, and monitoring.

In addition:
Getting Along: Managing Diversity for Atrocity Prevention in Socially Divided Societies

By Pauline H. Baker

Based on the experiences of Nigeria and South Africa, this paper examines how states may promote a greater level of protection against the threat of mass-atrocity violence. An atrocity-prevention lens is used to consider how diversity might be effectively managed through inclusive political processes, institutional mechanisms, and governance policies.

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A Climate for Conflict: Stories from Somalia A Climate for Conflict: Stories from Somalia
The Ground Truth Project, New America, and the Stanley Foundation are hosting a Screening of “A Climate for Conflict” and discussion with the creators followed by a panel discussion on Climate Security and Societal Resilience on May 30, 2017.

Somalia today is at a crossroads between a deepening crisis and a path to stability. Photographer and filmmaker Nichole Sobecki and writer Laura Heaton spent 18 months documenting personal stories of Somalia, creating a film, photography, and reporting that vividly illustrate the human consequences and security risks of a changing climate. Read more.

Follow the conversation online with #AClimateforConflict.


Courier Courier
The Spring 2017 issue of Courier provides insight and perspective on different global policy areas, including mass atrocity prevention in the Gambia and climate change agricultural innovation in Morocco. This issue also features a special look at the global order by Stanley Foundation president, Keith Porter; a feature on the struggle of a Somalian refugee hoping to resettle in the US; and a Q&A from our latest explorer award winner. The full Spring 2017 issue. PDF (1,151K) Subscribe for FREE.

Stanley Foundation at 60
On December 12, 1956, the Stanley Foundation was certified as a nonprofit corporation in the state of Iowa, bringing to life an organization dedicated to creating a world in which there is a secure peace with freedom and justice. Sixty years later, the organization continues to pursue and advance that vision as a thriving nonpartisan operating foundation. Moreover, it remains an organization with a professional staff and the involvement of family members who have an ongoing role in shaping its strategy and core values. More.

Employment Opportunities
Policy Program Associate, Mass Violence and Atrocities
Position Overview

The Stanley Foundation seeks a program associate to join its Policy Programming Department. The chosen candidate will work with the foundation’s policy programming team and other staff to support the planning, implementation, and assessment of the impact of the foundation’s human protection policy programming in pursuit of our mission, vision, and organizational goals.


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