Preventing Genocide

  • Date: Jan 01 2000
  • Policy Number: 200030

Key Words: Racism, Genetics

THE AMERICAN PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION,

Recognizing that Genocide and other mass murders have killed more people in the last 100 years than all wars combined;1 and

Recognizing that since the world said “Never Again” at the end of the Jewish Holocaust, genocide has cost the lives of over 22 million people in 140 different instances of genocide;2 and

Accepting the definition of genocide in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as “the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group;”3 and

Understanding that modern genocide is often a tool for engineering a vision of the ideal society, as Hitler sought to do;4 and

Acknowledging that racism and other forms of discriminatory behavior are necessary precursors for genocidal behavior since they identify the groups to be exterminated in order to attain the ideal society;5 and

Realizing that genocidal behavior is often a result of political, social or religious leaders exploiting economic differences between groups of people in order to gain or hold power;6 and

Understanding that genocide is almost always carried out by the nation state’s military and police forces in accordance with the orders of the nation’s leaders, depriving their citizens of fundamental human rights;7 and

Recognizing that a government with power concentrated in the hands of leaders rather than the people is void of checks and balances necessary “to keep the body politic away from extremities” and is a potential candidate for genocidal behavior;8 and

Realizing that the targeted religious, ethnic, economic, social, or political groups are regarded as bereft of human value and dignity and thus, dehumanized by the oppressor; and, that once the targeted citizens are dehumanized, non-targeted citizens are more likely to follow the orders of the nation’s leaders, and commit violence against members of the targeted groups;9 and

Being aware that this form of violence associated with economic, political, social, religious and ethnic differences will likely remain a persistent threat to human life and public health into the future;10 and

Further recognizing that international, intra-national, ethnic and religious conflicts often result in the destruction of public health and medical infrastructure, the loss of other critical means for maintaining public health such as water, sanitation, fuel, and food sources and delivery mechanisms; and

Having considered the existing developments in biological engineering and the human genome project that will soon provide the technological capacity needed to target specific ethnic groups with “designer” biological weapons of mass destruction;11 and

Recognizing that some evidence suggests that efforts to develop an ethnic weapon had been undertaken by the Apartheid government of South Africa12, and that other governments13-15 and racist groups16 may have been or may be working to develop such weapons; and

Realizing that the potential for genocide can be recognized and prevented by monitoring for eight characteristic genocidal behaviors: classification, symbolization, dehumanization, organization, polarization, identification, extermination, and denial;17 and

Knowing that attempts to mobilize ad hoc military responses to crimes against humanity, such as genocide, can take weeks if not months, resulting in the continued slaughter of innocent people and making future attempts at peace and reconciliation much more difficult;18 and

Being aware that the existing non-democratic nature of the UN Security Council and the veto power19 associated with permanent member status of 5 nation states sometimes results in the complete lack of active protection for the non-combatants’ inalienable rights detailed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; and

Acknowledging that a rapid deployment force could prevent or stop genocides20 and that the fear of persecution in an International Criminal Court as prescribed in the Rome Statute could deter acts of genocide and other crimes against humanity;21 and

Recognizing the need and growing support by US allies for an effective UN rapid deployment force;22 and

Recognizing that the cost of establishing such a force would be far cheaper than dealing with the consequences associated with the slowness or failure of existing peacekeeping mobilization efforts. For example, the world could have saved over 800,000 lives and $2 billion in humanitarian aid if the United States had sent 5,500 peacekeepers within the first two weeks after violent uprisings started in Rwanda for a six-month cost of $115 million;23 and

Understanding that the existence of such a force would reduce the need to call US troops to serve in foreign nations and would reduce the potential for anti-US reactions including terrorism;24 and

Concluding that failure to take such obviously needed steps would be a violation of the “economic, social and cultural rights as well as civil and political rights and freedom” the US agreed to in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;25 Urges that the US Government fully support the United Nations and all other efforts to monitor early signs of genocide.

  1. Urges that the US Government address the conditions of ignorance, poverty and lack of accountability that enable some leaders to foment genocide.  
  2. Urges the US Government to publicly announce its support for the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights and to actively pursue actualization of economic and social rights that would help undermine harmful economic, social or political conditions that are often responsible for armed conflict. 
  3. Urges that the US Government fully support the establishment of a voluntary UN force, and provide a fair share of funding and support to its effective operation as prescribed in HR 4453 whenever innocent human lives or ethnic groups are specifically targeted by hostile forces or a sovereign nation
  4. Urges the Administration to sign and the Senate to ratify the Rome Statue on International Criminal Court and to pursue the extradition of any leader actively supporting war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide.

References

  1. Rummel, Rudi. “The Holocaust in Comparative and Historical Perspective,” Contemporary Genocides: Causes, Cases, Consequences. Edited by Albert J. Jongman. Leiden, PIOOM, 1996. See also: Stanton, Greg. World Federalist Association, “Campaign to End Genocide.” 10 Jan 2000.
  2. The Encyclopedia of Genocide. Charny, Israel W, chief ed. Rouben Paul Adalian, Jacobs, Markusen, and Samuel Totten, associate ed. Sherman, Marc I., bibliographic ed; Forewords by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Simon Wiesenthal; [Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 1999, Two volumes, 720p.].
  3. United Nations, “Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court,” Article 6: Genocide. Rome: 17 July 1998.
  4. Bauman, Zygmunt, Modernity and the Holocaust. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York: 1989.
  5. Bauman, Zygmunt, Modernity and the Holocaust. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York: 1989.
  6. Smith, Dan. The State of War and Peace Atlas: Trends in a Post-Cold War World. 6th ed. New York: Penguin Book Ltd, 1999. http://www.prio.no/html/recentpub.asp
  7. Stanton, Greg. World Federalist Association, “Campaign to End Genocide.” 10 Jan 2000.
  8. Bauman, Zygmunt, Modernity and the Holocaust. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York: 1989.
  9. Bauman, Zygmunt, Modernity and the Holocaust. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York: 1989.
  10. U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century, “New World Coming: American Security In the 21st Century” 6 Oct 1999. http://www.nssg.gov/Reports/reports.htm
  11. Hoang, Uy. “BMA warns of arrival of genetic weapons.” BMJ 30 Jan 1999. http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/318/7179/283
  12. South Africa’s Chemical and Biological Warfare Program, “Special Investigation into Project Coast Truth and Reconciliation Commission FINAL REPORT,” Vol. 2 Chapter 6. 29 Oct 1998. http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/rsa/cbw/2chap6c.htm
  13. Associated Press. “Newspaper: Israel working on biological weapon that targets Arabs,” Athens Daily News 15 Nov 1998. http://www.onlineathens.com/1998/111598/1115.a4bio.html
  14. Mahnaimi, Uzi and Marie Colvin. “Israel Planning “Ethnic” Bomb as Saddam Caves in,” Sunday Times 15 Nov 1998. http://www.salam.org/palestine/bio-arab-bomb.html
  15. Reaney, Patricia. “Race Specific Weapons not far away,” Washington Times 23 Jan 1999. 
  16. Lindstedt, Martin, ed. “The Biological War Inevitable. Part II,” The Modern Militiaman’s Internet Gazette 6 Mar 1998.
  17. Stanton, Greg, “The Eight Stages of Genocide,” Yale Genocide Studies Paper GS-01, 1998.
  18. McGovern, Morella, and Porter introduced, “House Resolution 4453: United Nations Rapid Deployment Force Act of 2000,” 106th Congress, 2nd session 2000.
  19. McGovern, Morella, and Porter introduced, “House Resolution 4453: United Nations Rapid Deployment Force Act of 2000,” 106th Congress, 2nd session 2000.
  20. McGovern, Morella, and Porter introduced, “House Resolution 4453: United Nations Rapid Deployment Force Act of 2000” Section 2. 4, 106th Congress, 2nd Session 2000.
  21. United Nations, “Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court,” Preamble. Rome: 17 July 1998.
  22. United Nations, “Progress Report of the Secretary General on Standby Arrangements for Peacekeeping.” 1 May 2000.
  23. McGovern, Morella, and Porter introduced, “House Resolution 4453: United Nations Rapid Deployment Force Act of 2000,” 106th Congress, 2nd session 2000.
  24. Eland, Ivan, CATO Institute. “Does U.S. Intervention Overseas Breed Terrorism?: The Historical Record,” Foreign Policy Briefing No. 50. 17 Dec 1998.
  25. United Nations, “International Covenant on the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights” Preamble. 27 Jan 1997.

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