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Concept note

FOURTH GLOBAL FORUM
AGAINST THE CRIME OF GENOCIDE
December 12-13, 2022
(Concept note)

PREVENTION OF GENOCIDE IN THE ERA OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES

Rapid development of technologies brings new opportunities along with new challenges. Innovative technologies possess the potential to significantly contribute to the prevention of genocide and other atrocity crimes, alternatively they may run the risk of being misused and weaponized for their preparation and perpetration.

Today it is essential to identify and manage the effects and consequences of the use of new technologies and ensure their responsible and accountable application. Misuse of advanced technologies and the information they provide can be leveraged, among others, to amplify hate speech, incite violence, facilitate terrorist recruitment, perpetrate genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, posing threat to international peace and security.

On the other hand, digital tools and platforms can be used as an early warning mechanism to identify risk factors and early warning signs of genocide, prevent violence and conflict and generate incentives for positive changes in the societies, recovery and reconciliation. To effectively prevent atrocity crimes and their reoccurrence, relevant national and international instruments must be applied to held the perpetrators accountable. Reliable digitalized evidence can contribute greatly to post-genocide justice, truth-seeking, effective remedy and accountability mechanisms. It is very important that the voices and concerns of the affected people be heard.

Partnerships are essential for the effective application of new technologies for preventive ends. Prevention initiatives based on complementary and unified efforts as well as coordinated activities of governments, private sector, civil society, academia and international actors proved to be more effective.

The 2022 United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution on Genocide Prevention “Expresses concern at the spread of disinformation and misinformation, particularly on social media platforms, which can be designed and implemented so as to mislead, to spread racism, intolerance, xenophobia, negative stereotyping and stigmatization, and to violate and abuse human rights”. It “decides to convene, a one-day intersessional meeting to mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and to discuss the role of social media platforms and their instrumentalization by those seeking to spread hate leading to real-world discrimination and violence, which will provide a space for a thorough examination of the issue and a dialogue with various stakeholders”.

The issue of advanced technologies as a risk factor and the tool for prevention of genocide has been underlined by the United Nations Secretary General in his Strategy on New Technologies.

Among the positive aspects of innovative technologies is their role in preserving cultural heritage. They can shorten the distance between cultural spaces and facilitate interaction and connection between all involved actors.

The protection of cultural heritage and religious sites that reflect the history, social fabric and traditions of people is of considerable significance. It can undoubtedly become a useful instrument for reconciliation in post-genocide period, thus making it possible for peoples to coexist peacefully afterwards, as well as creating a basis for long lasting peace. Recovery of cultural heritage of victims of genocide and other atrocity crimes can provide certain guarantees for non-recurrence.

However, unfortunately, even nowadays we witness many examples of deliberate attacks on and unlawful destruction of cultural monuments and religious sites of religious and ethnic groups. Any attempt to attack, harm, destroy or misappropriate cultural heritage of a religious and ethnic group is a clear violation of The Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Events of Armed Conflict, as well as International Humanitarian Law obligations to safeguard cultural property.

The 4th Global Forum Against the Crime of Genocide is dedicated to the issue of the prevention of genocide in the era of new technologies. It will address the challenges, opportunities and perspectives of using new technologies for the prevention of genocide. This requires a closer cooperation between Governments, tech companies, academia and civil society with the aim to maximize the benefits of technology while minimizing its risks.

The event is organized with the support of the Special Adviser of the UN Secretary- General on the Prevention of Genocide and in close cooperation with the International Association of Genocide Scholars and the Global Action Against Mass Atrocity Crimes (GAAMAC).

The 4th Global Forum will commence on December 12, 2022, and will be dedicated to the adoption of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime commemorated annually on December 9 as stipulated by the Resolution 69/323 of 11 September 2015[1] of the UN General Assembly. The Resolution was initiated by Armenia based on a Resolution on Genocide Prevention also sponsored by Armenia and adopted by consensus by the UN Human Rights Council in 2015.

 

Day One (December 12, 2022)

Opening of the Forum. High-level segment

The session will be open for address by high-level guests and dignitaries.

Plenary Session. The role and use of new technologies in preventing genocide and advancing accountability efforts

The session will focus on international activities aimed at prevention of genocide, fostering accountability efforts, recent developments in this area and avenues for action on a global level.

The session will seek to answer the question of how, amid unprecedented growth in access to information and communication technologies (ICTs), can international actors, governments, and civil society organizations leverage ICTs and the data they generate to effectively prevent genocide.

Panel One. Misuse of new technologies and risk of genocide

The panel will examine the security risks that the innovative technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) can pose in the context of perpetration of genocide and other atrocity crimes. The security risks may include the exploitation of sensitive data, the questions of ethics, cybercrime and warfare.

Invitees: Heads of tech companies, scientists, representatives of States and Governments and experts from international organizations.

Panel Two. Social platforms as tool for the dissemination of hate — Preventive measures

The panel will discuss the role of social media and risks of dissemination of hate speech, war propaganda, recruitment of terrorists, incitement to violence, as well as will focus on the role of governments, international organizations, civil society groups and individuals to counter and combat hate speech and incitement that could lead to genocide and other atrocity crimes and to foster peaceful and inclusive discourses online.

Invitees: Heads of tech companies, scientists, representatives of States and Governments and experts from international organizations.

Day Two (December 13, 2022)

Panel Three. New technologies and protection of cultural heritage in the context of genocide prevention and post-genocide rehabilitation

The panel will discuss examples of deliberate destruction of cultural heritage and religious sites in order to destroy targeted group’s history, undermine and erase its identity. It will address the issue of the use of new technologies for the protection, preservation and restoration of cultural heritage of religious and ethnic groups and their role in strengthening the intercultural and interreligious dialogue, fostering peacebuilding processes and post-genocide reconciliation initiatives.

Invitees: Human rights, genocide scholars, officials in charge of culture, heads and representatives of leading universities, international organizations and Governments.

Closing Session

The Forum will conclude with the adoption of a Declaration on Joint Action to utilize the potential of advanced technologies for early warning and prevention of genocide and related atrocity crimes and to tackle their misuse.