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Sri Lanka in “Genocide Red Alert” watch list

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 9 December 2008 17:28 No Comment]

New York-based Genocide Prevention Project in a report to be published Tuesday includes Sri Lanka as one of the eight "red alert" countries where genocide and other mass atrocities are underway or risk breaking out. A comprehensive list of 33 countries is also contained in the report. Tuesday marks the 60th anniversary of the United Nation’s convention on the prevention of genocide, and 20th anniversary of U.S’s ratification of the treaty.

"Red alert" countries include Afghanistan, and Iraq alongside regions currently experiencing genocidal conflict such as Sudan’s Darfur and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. These and Myanmar, Pakistan, Somalia and Sri Lanka all made the list’s top eight because they appear in each of the five "expert" indexes.
The next 25 "orange alert" countries appear in at least three of the indexes. They include China, Colombia, Philippines and Indonesia as places where ongoing or simmering violence could flare to genocidal proportions.

"It is possible to identify early indicators of mass atrocity crimes. But what happens now is the international community sees what’s going on, gets paralyzed and, if it acts, really only acts after the fact," said Jill Savitt, project executive director.

Savitt states three factors that are likely to change the "political will" lacking in the past.
First, the stated determination of Susan Rice, U.S. president-elect Barack Obama’s choice for U.S. ambassador to the UN, to prevent future genocides after witnessing the after-effects of the 1994 Rwanda slaughter.

Second, current discussion around the 60th anniversary of the genocide prevention convention, which calls on countries to prevent and punish actions of genocide.

And third, the public "guilt" over what occurred in Rwanda and Bosnia, and what she called public "hunger for a response" to the Darfur crisis, Savitt says.

Meanwhile, a task force led by Madeleine K Albright, former Secretary of State, and an advisor to Obama and Clinton, released Monday a report on world genocide threats which will likely be used by the Obama administration as a guide post to prevent developing genocides.

"Preventing genocide is an achievable goal," the Albright report says. "Genocide is not the inevitable result of ancient hatreds or irrational leaders. It requires planning and is carried out systematically. There are ways to recognize signs and symptoms, and viable options to prevent it at every turn if we are committed and prepared," Washington Post said, quoting from the Albright report.

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