Sept. 21 marks the one year anniversary of Mobilizing the Will to Intervene (W2I), a document created by researchers at Concordia University which reads as a handbook for how governments can go about preventing genocides and mass atrocities.
W2I was presented to the governments of both Canada and the United States. Using suggestions presented in W2I, the Obama administration created the position of National Security Council Director for War Crimes and Atrocities as well as an Interagency Policy Committee on Preventing Mass Atrocities.
This past Wednesday, a discussion was held at Concordia University with Dr. Frank Chalk, one of the document’s researchers and director of the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS), and Kyle Matthews, the lead researcher at MIGS.
The discussion reflected on the positives of W2I and what still needs to be implemented in order for governments to prevent future tragedies such as those in Rwanda and Somalia.
“Major institutional changes need to be made across the governments,” Dr. Chalk said.
Chalk and Matthews stressed the importance of the governments of Canada and the United States maintaining a proactive stance towards atrocities committed in Third World nations. Matthews urged that prevention is the most viable means of dealing with such violence and that simply sending in aid afterward was not enough. “Doctors and aid workers cannot stop genocide,” Matthews said.
“Our politicians and senior policy makers, they tend not to prevent much but to react,” he continued. “And we say that’s dangerous, expensive, it’s a threat to our national interest, our citizens and it’s a waste of our resources.”
Midway through the discussion, Dr. Chalk left for the airport to begin a trip to Uganda where he will meet with officials regarding the policy recommendations of W2I.