SHORT EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Budapest Centre for the International Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities
At the Second Budapest Human Rights Forum on the 25th-26th of June 2009 upon the findings of a Feasibility Study, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Hungary announced the intention of the Hungarian Government to establish a Centre for the International Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities in Budapest. By launching this initiative the Government of Hungary wishes to contribute to the international promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms with special emphasis on the prevention of genocide and mass atrocities with a view to spread a culture of prevention.
Despite the significant progress, the second half of the 20th century has, unfortunately, witnessed several genocides and mass atrocities even after the Holocaust. That fact stresses the need to continue the efforts to fill the gap between political will for preventing genocide and establishing the necessary international mechanisms for effective operations. Recent research shows and makes evident that, even if escalation to mass violence often happens swiftly, the progression of events toward genocide is gradual, and that the months from initial threat to full genocide offer ample warning time for the international community to take preventive action. We should make use of the fact that genocide is preventable and to increase the efficiency of our activities in this field.
The establishment of an institutionalized mechanism able to promote and/or coordinate an international network of players and stakeholders closely linked to both global and regional decision making bodies is a prerequisite for effective actions.
The Budapest Centre for the International Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities could substantially narrow the existing gaps between “early and clear warning” and “swift and decisive action” as it was acknowledge in the 2008 Annual report of the UN Secretary General on the implementation of the Five Point Action Plan to prevent genocide.
The Centre shall be an independent body with special links to UN institutions and agencies, in particular with the Office of the Special Advisor for the Prevention of Genocide and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Regional and Sub Regional organizations such as the European Union, the African Union, the OSCE, the Organization of American States, the ASEAN, the ECOWAS, the IGAD, the SADEC and international and local NGOs that would offer complementary strengths and cooperative opportunities.
The Centre shall become a catalyst for relevant information and early warnings coming from various sources, and shall operate an integrated warning-response support system which will formulate policy recommendations and generate political consensus for early action at International and Regional level.
In order to institutionalize its international cooperation, the Centre shall undersign bilateral Memorandums of Understanding or arrive at any political agreement with the organizations and institutions mentioned above which will allow for exchange of information, consultation and interaction on regular basis.
The Centre shall provide analysis, recommendations, methodology and support on mediation efforts in situations of instability that could lead to genocidal actions, as well as shall try to centralise and improve the quality of information, map existing competence in the field of genocide prevention, connecting academics and experts.
The Centre shall also facilitate meetings and workshops aimed at enhancing cooperation among stakeholders, actors, donors, NGOs and representatives of media at regional level where the concrete tasks and challenges could be set on the agenda from the perspectives of genocide and mass atrocities.
The fact that several humanitarian organizations (UNHCR – Regional Office and Global Service and Learning Centre, IOM – Regional Office, IFRC – European Zone Office) have decided to bring their regional, or administrative centre to Budapest provides an important network for the Centre to receive first hand information and to mobilize the international community about urgent cases.
Hungary does not have the burden of a colonial past and it has a good or at least a neutral relationship with countries in Africa, Asia or Latin America, which would help the Centre to be accepted in these regions. The Centre could also have a very positive regional effect by disseminating the culture of dialogue, tolerance and prevention.
The legal framework of the Centre shall ensure the transparency and accountability of the work of the Centre, which is of paramount importance for donors. The Centre shall be established as an independent legal entity, under Hungarian Law, by international and well-known Hungarian academic institutions and eminent persons.
The Centre shall be an open foundation so that it could receive donations from anyone who would like to support it.
The Government of Hungary envisages an approximate budget for the Centre between 2 and 2,5 million € for its yearly functioning. The founding should be based on a wide range of donors to assure the internationalization of its mandate.
The Centre shall be composed of four major bodies:
- an Advisory Board of 15 experts who will elect a Director;
- an Executive Board of 5 experts which prepares the decisions of the Advisory Board;
- a Board of Donors or Supervisory Board gathering representatives of donors States, institutes or foundations that will receive an annual briefing;
- an Operative Structure consisting of political analysts, genocide prevention experts of all continents.