International Crisis Group: High Level Advocacy

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By definition, nonprofit organizations and nongovernmental organizations emerge when governments and other groups fail to perform properly and meet the needs of the public. In the 1990’s, the world was experiencing some of the worst tragedies in Somalia, Rwanda, and Bosnia with no response from the international community. In Somalia, where civil war is still being fought, upwards of 500,000 lives have been lost. In only 100 days, an estimated 500,000-100,000 people were killed in the genocide against the Tutsis of Rwanda. The Bosnian War claimed the lives of thousands of civilians and soldiers. During this decade, when war and genocide were reoccurring themes, the international community failed to anticipate these wars and subsequently take action. The Crisis Group was formed to address this situation by former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey and Thailand Morton Abramowitz, former head of U.N. Development Programme Mark Malloch-Brown, and Senator George Mitchell. Their goal: to act as the world’s eyes and ears, looking out for impending conflicts with the help of a high profile Board of Directors that could mobilize action from the world’s policymakers. Operating under the tagline “working to prevent conflict worldwide”, the International Crisis Group works in both the political and social realms to create advocacy.

Mission: “Crisis Group decides which situations to cover based on a number of factors. These include: the seriousness of a situation, whether we can add value to international understanding and response, whether we have or can raise the necessary resources to ensure high-quality reporting and effective follow-through, and whether we can safely operate in the field.”

The Crisis Group writes reports and briefing papers that go to tens of thousands of targeted recipients. They have a huge scope, and they use mainstream media and a large social media presense to deliver commentary government ministers, heads of international agencies, diplomats, officials in key roles, journalists, and over 200,000 people worldwide. By also publishing this commentary in multiple languages, the Crisis Groups bridges gaps and makes their key information accessible to everyone.

The Crisis Group’s website also highlights three important elements of their approach to building advocacy on such a large scale. The first is through expert field research and analysis. Many of their journalists are stationed in the middle of many of the world’s hotspots for conflict. Their main task is to figure out what is happening and why. What people are involved? Why do they matter? Who influences them? What is the state of the area? What are the underlying political, social, and economic factors contributing to conflict? I find this element of their organization to be so crucial, especially as I view lack of knowledge and understanding a huge barrier for me against activism. The second element is practical, imaginative policy prescriptions. What good is understanding a conflict if nothing is done to address or prevent it? The Crisis Group has the reach to influence key policy makers and start to enact change at a governmental level, a level that is often out of reach for the everyday advocate. The last element is effective, high level advocacy. This final element is crucial, as it is the action piece of advocacy. The problem and appropriate responses have been identified, but know it is important to include the political will to actually make the changes. This involves persuading policymakers, media, and other influential figures. Their arguments must be crafted carefully. They must speak to a specific area: political, legal, moral, or financial. Because of their high level of credibility and capacity, the Crisis Group can make these lofty expectations a reality. The Crisis Group receives money from governments, individuals and larger corporations, and institutional foundations to do its work.

The International Crisis Groups writes reports on all areas of the world that are experiencing significant conflict. These reports are very useful in helping understanding current developments along with historical factors that have created the issues in the first place. This link is to the most recent report about South Sudan and the prospects for a “National Dialogue” that President Omar al Bashir had promised early 2014. http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/africa/horn-of-africa/sudan/b108-sudan-the-prospects-for-national-dialogue.aspx The only issue in utilizing these reports is that they are often not geared to the Average Joe with minimal understanding of the current political landscape of war torn areas. But because the reports are so extensive, they offer a more transparent view at the issues at hand. If someone really invests, reports by the Crisis Groups bring a much better understanding and a clearer prescription for necessary steps to take for advocacy.

Here is a link to their blog, In Pursuit of Peace, for up to date commentary:http://blog.crisisgroup.org/

[All information has been gathered from the International Crisis Group’s website: http://www.crisisgroup.org/en.aspx ]

Jen

We Must Unite to End Genocide

History:

United to End Genocide is a nonprofit organization that is a large combined advocacy effort that started with the Save Darfur Coalition, the Genocide Intervention Network, and the Sudan Divestment Task Force.  All of these organizations were formed in response to the genocide in Darfur.  To date, more than 300,000 Darufri men, women, and children have lost their lives and many are still vulnerable.

  • The Save Darfur Coalition was founded at the Darfur Emergency Summit in New York City in July, 2004. The organization quickly grew into a network of more that 190 faith-based, advocacy and human rights organizations with more than 1 million activists and hundreds of community groups committed to ending the genocide in Darfur.
  • The Genocide Intervention Network was founded in October 2004 with the intention to empower people with the tools to advance initiatives able to directly protect people from the atrocities in Darfur. In addition to its original mission, in 2005, the organization broadened its reach to include programs aimed at educating and mobilizing support for U.S. policies that could help protect people in Darfur.
  • The Sudan Divestment Task Force was founded in 2005 and has launched many successful divestment campaigns around the world. They have targeted university endowments, investment policies, and have worked closely with the Genocide Intervention Network and in 2006, became a part of the organization.  In 2009, the SDTF became known as the Conflict Risk Network (CRN).
  • STAND: Students Taking Action Now: Darfur was another organization formed in 2004 that recruits, trains, organizes, and mobilizes students. Around 2006, STAND became a part of United to End Genocide and in 2013 it transitioned to an independent, self-sustaining organization.

United to End Genocide is a broad merger that came about in 2011 when these organizations mentioned came together to form the new advocacy organization, led by President Tom Andrews.

Mission:

United to End Genocide is dedicated to preventing and ending genocide and mass atrocities worldwide by building a powerful, lasting movement of community activists, faith leaders, students, artists, investors and genocide survivors, and all those who believe we must fulfill the promise the world made following the Holocaust: “Never Again!”

Programs:

End Genocide Network: The organization is built on the belief that in order to prevent mass atrocities and end genocide for good, we must build a large and powerful activist movement.  A movement that will first, sound the alarm, then shine a spotlight on those who cause or enable genocide, and finally demand action from our elected leaders and anyone with the power to protect.  This is a global movement with the idea that the end to genocide can come from all corners of the globe.  The End Genocide Network program works to help connect and support hundreds of community leaders in the U.S. as well as work to reach out and identify new leaders in communities across the nation.  The program and organization provides an online forum to share stories and experience, strategize, build capacity, and create effective advocacy.

End Genocide Survivors: No one in this class can deny the power held in the stories of those who have faced genocide and horrible atrocities.  United to End’s ‘Survivors’ program understands this and works to help these survivors make their voices heard.  They help them build connections and put them in touch with student and community activists.  The program also puts survivors in touch with other survivors to help strengthen the network of voices speaking out against genocide and mass atrocities.

United to End Genocide stands in solidarity of those affected by genocide and mass atrocities and they work to try to make the information about these horrible crimes known, and then they help provide tools and information about how to begin making a difference as a united community.

For more information go to endgenocide.org

-Becky

Taking Matters into Our Hands- STAND

logoSTAND was born during the genocide in Darfur. Students from Georgetown University could not ideally stand by. They created Students Taking Action Now in Darfur. This organization was created to make noise when the government fails to act. STAND has been a completely independent organization since it was founded. Additionally, STAND is a grassroots organization that completely student-run. The organization works to end and prevent mass atrocities. These students are united to end genocide. They work together to let the current elected officials know that ending genocide is a priority. STAND has students from across the nation involved in this campaign. The key for these students is to organize, educate, and advocate.

 

This organization’s goal is to prepare students with the tools they need to build political will. STAND believes the leaders of this organization will be the next generation of thought leaders. Students running this organization provide training programs and annual retreats. The mission of this organization is “to protect civilians from genocidal violence and elected officials are held accountable for their action or in action in the face of genocide.” STAND also creates a sustainable student network that actively fights genocide.divestmentmarching

The structure of this organization is unlike most. There is a Managing Committee, a Task Force, and the Leadership Team. The Managing Committee is made up of 11 students. They are in charge of developing campaigns, advocacy, organizing strategies, policy resources. While the Task Force, is in charge of making everything run efficiently and smoothly.

So far, STAND has been successful in enacting the Sudan Accountability Act and the Darfur Peace and Accountability. With the help of the Obama Administration, STAND has had a successful appointment in the Special Envoy to Sudan and Darfur Diplomat. The have also advocated for the implementation of a No -Fly Zone in Libya.littleboyspeaceGS

STAND has a lot of resources for the general public. There are “one pagers”, which explains the past and present issues on topic. Some of the “one pagers” STAND has right now are about atrocities in Darfur, the continued conflict between South Sudan and Sudan, and the mass killings in Syria. They are in the process of creating two more about the conflict in Burma and the DRC.

There are plenty of resources for teachers too. STAND provides other websites that explains the topic of genocide. There are other websites for activism and education on the current conflicts. There also are trainings and dates for the training.

You can join STAND now! Just email info@standnow.org Get a chapter started at your school or subscribe to their e-newsletter and be up- to -date with the current news on genocide. While checking out their site, check out their blog! http://www.standnow.org/blogjoin

– Samantha Shepherd

Ever heard of the Office of the Special Advisers on the PREVENTION OF GENOCIDE??

WHAT IS IT?

The Office of the Special Adviser for the United Nations has two Special Advisers appointed to the Prevention of Genocide. These two advisers are Adama Dieng of Senegal and Jennifer Welsh of Canada. While each Special Advisor has their own individual tasks, collectively Dieng and Welsh are responsible for “alerting relevant actors of risk of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity”. In addition to those responsibilities, Dieng and Welsh are in charge of improving the capabilities of the United Nations to prevent these crimes. Dieng was appointed to this position in July of 2012 and is responsible for all prevention issues that the UN handles for genocide. Welsh, working under the guidance of Dieng, is the Special Adviser of the Responsibility to Protect and was appointed in July of 2013.

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WHAT DO THEY DO?

The Special Advisers are responsible for gathering information about areas where there may be a risk of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity. Since the information they are seeking is sensitive, the public does not see most of the work they complete until it is released in a pubic statement. Public statements are released by the Special Advisers in situations where violence will be reduced with public awareness.

Check out their outreach page to learn more about the public briefings they have held: http://www.un.org/en/preventgenocide/adviser/briefings.shtml

PROJECTS

The Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide has several projects that they are working on. One project, called the “The Responsibility to Protect and Non-state armed groups”, began in 2011 with Dr. William Reno. This project is aimed at identifying, assessing, and responding to areas where non-state armed groups have control, which may put that state at risk of genocide. The purpose of this project is to create specific policy guidelines and operational methodologies for responding to areas where non-state armed groups have control.

To learn more about their projects, check out this link: http://www.un.org/en/preventgenocide/adviser/projects.shtml

PREVENTION OF GENOCIDE

On there website, there is a page called Preventing Genocide. This page has information about what genocide is and emphasizes the importance of understanding the root causes of genocide in order to prevent it. At the bottom of this page they posted a short 3-minute video of Dieng talking about the Rwanda genocide and how we need to learn from it to never let genocide happen again.

CHECK IT OUT!

The Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide has a great website with lots of information! To find out more about their key missions or to sign up for their mailing list, visit: http://www.un.org/en/preventgenocide/adviser/index.shtml

-Steph

All information was received from: http://www.un.org/en/preventgenocide/adviser/index.shtml

Enough Project has had enough, have you?

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Enough is a project that was started in 2006 by a small group of policymakers and activists with the common goal of ending genocide and crimes against humanity. The project is based out of Washington, DC, and was co-founded by Africa experts Gayle Smith and John Prendergast. The mission of Enough is as follows:

“The Enough Project works to end genocide and crimes against humanity, focused on areas where some of the world’s worst atrocities occur. We get the facts on the ground, use rigorous analysis to determine the most sustainable solution, influence political leaders to adopt our proposals, and mobilize the American public to demand change.”

The Enough Project works with people of diverse communities to ensure their voices are heard on pressing foreign policy and moral challenges. In addition to working with people, “Enough conducts intensive field research in countries plagued by genocide and crimes against humanity, develops practical policies to address these crises, and shares sensible tools to help empower citizens, advocates, and policy makers.” There is not a specific way or formula to eradicate genocide and mass atrocities, so Enough has developed an approach to called the “3 P’s.” The Enough Project believes that the combination of peace, protection, and punishment can stop mass atrocities. There is also a fourth “P” of prevention that uses elements of analysis, advocacy, and activism to stop mass atrocities from starting.

Raise of Hope for Congo, Darfur Dream Team, and Satellite Sentinel Project are campaigns and initiatives that are fueled by the Enough Project.

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Raise of Hope for Congo is a campaign that aims to build activists who will advocate for the human rights of all Congolese citizens. The campaign wants to raise awareness about the crisis and educate different communities of the conflicts in Congo. Other than raising awareness Raise for Hope for Congo works the Enough Project to develop policy recommendations for the U.S. government. In addition to policy recommendations and raising awareness, the campaign developed a company ranking system to help consumers make educated responsible purchasing decisions with conflict minerals.

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Darfur Dream Team is a partnership of organizations and professional basketball players, like Tracy McGrady, to improve education through Sister School programs to link Darfur education in 12 refugee camps. Darfur Dream Team’s mission statement is “(1) Provide a quality education to every refugee child from Darfur; and, (2) Develop personal connections between students from Darfur and the United States that promote mutual understanding.” The campaign goes beyond pen pals and sends video messages back and forth from Darfur and American schools to share stories.

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Finally, the Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) finds out facts of what is really happening in Sudan using satellite imagery to uncover evidence of atrocities and report potential threats. George Clooney and John Prendergast had the idea for SSP on a trip to Sudan in October 2010.

Other than campaigns and initiatives, the Enough Project has a large staff behind it and also foreign policy experts, scholars, celebrity upstanders, and activists. For more information visit enoughproject.org.

Kerry

Genocide Watch

What is Genocide Watch?

Genocide Watch is the first anti-genocide NGO in the world and is efficacious in providing awareness for the prevention and identification of genocide throughout the world. It was created by Gregory H. Stanton who is incredibly experienced in genocide work. He has drafted the United Nations Security Council resolutions that resulted in the creation of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the Burundi Commission of Inquiry, and the Central African Arms Flow Commission. He has had a huge impact on this issue and has continued to extend his influence into advocacy.

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 1.45.57 PMThe Mission Statement: Genocide Watch exists to predict, prevent, stop, and punish genocide and other forms of mass murder. We seek to raise awareness and influence public policy concerning potential and actual genocide. Our purpose is to build an international movement to prevent and stop genocide.

As I was researching this organization, I stumbled across the mission statement and identified 4 key pieces that I believe truly summarize the organization’s purpose. This powerful and meaningful mission is geared at the elimination, education, prevention, and punishment of genocide and those who commit it.

Predict. Prevent. Stop. Punish

Foresee where problems are beginning to form, use preventative measures, eliminate the problem, and bring consequences onto the persecutors.

Seek to raise awareness

Tell people about it. Spread the word. Talk about genocide. Don’t pretend like the issues aren’t there but help be the voice to an issue that needs more noise.

Influence public policy

 Raise awareness and lobby for the cause so that our politicians listen to our needs and help create policies to make a difference in countries that experience genocide.

Build an international movement

This doesn’t stop in the United States, we need to create an internationally active community who brings attention and focus to organization of efforts to improve upon the issue of genocide.

Vision: Genocide Watch coordinates The International Alliance to End Genocide (IAEG) which focuses on educating individuals and influencing policy, creating institutions to stop genocide, and enforcing justice upon the genocidaires. The advocacy doesn’t end with Genocide Watch, but this organization has a vision to create other groups that work to end the issue as well.

Genocide Watch Objectives


Education, 
Prediction, Prevention, Intervention, Justice

This objectives follow a chain. It is necessary to educate in order to predict, and prediction is necessary to prevent, you’ve got to prevent so you don’t have to intervene, and once you intervene it is necessary to provide justice. These objectives don’t work if there is a broken link in the chain, and each piece of the overall vision needs to work in sync in order to see a difference in genocide and mass murder.

Why Genocide Watch Matters

Something incredibly unique about this NGO is the amount of extensive information provided about genocide and the alert system that is set up to identify risky areas of the world where there is activity related to ethnic cleansing and other types of genocide and mass murder. The website provides information about the 10 Stages of Genocide and how they progress from mild hate speech to violent acts of crime. The stages move in order from Classification to Symbolization, Discrimination, Dehumanization, Organization, Polarization, Preparation, Persecution, Extermination, and finally to Denial. Genocide Watch provides an “Alerts” tab where there is a U.S. map that provides color-coded imaging of each of the stages relative to each of the countries that are identified as at risk. This is an interesting type of advocacy that provides interested individuals with imagery that is representative of the magnitude of the problem.

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This organization provides so much information to those who may not understand what genocide is or how the issue is affecting those involved, but it also provides so much information about how to become an advocate and assist in eliminating the problem.

The passion that drives the organization is evident in so many ways but something that is especially important to remember in the words of Mr. Stanton himself is that ending genocide is “a matter of human will” and those who say it can’t be done will only perpetuate the cruelty that drives genocide.

So if you’re not feeling inspired quite yet, take a look at the website and see for yourself how genocide affects lives and learn about how you make a difference in this worldwide issue.


Anna

Why reading Human Rights Watch is essential

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In case you didn’t know, you need a subscription to Human Rights Watch. This free, weekly e-newsletter is written by an independent, international and investigative group that uses journalism to expose mass violations of human rights and their platform to pressure those in power to make decisions to regain or protect human rights in jeopardy. They write over 100 reports a year to the UN sharing their findings and solutions to conflicts in the 80 countries their reporters investigate. Given a four star r   anking on Charity Navigator, this group prides themselves on their unbiased, detailed and accurate fact finding. images-1

The effort began in 1975 under the name Helsinki Watch to monitor government compliance with the Helsinki Accords and “name and shame” it’s offenders. Over the course of the next 13 years, they acquired Americas, Asia, African and Middle East Watch and by 1988 officially became Human Rights Watch. Since it’s origination, the group has remained concentrated on “deep rooted changes in policy, law and public opinion”. They believe by documenting violations of human rights chances of offender accountability and appropriate sanctions will increase while decreasing the numbers of future offenders.images-2images-3

Many forums of information sharing are available through the organization. On their website is posted articles, videos, basic Q&A on pressing issues and open letters to the officials involved. In case this is the first article you have read on this blog, gaining knowledge and sharing it with others is the only way to end oppression and mass violence many of the countries we write about have been experiencing. Human Rights Watch is on the forefront of erasing indifference! Visit the site here to see for yourself (and to have something in common with Ashton Kutcher and Ben Affleck).

-Caroline