Integrating atrocity prevention in UK international policy
This short position paper comes from members of the UK’s civil society Atrocity Prevention Working Group. In it we set out, drawing upon our collective expertise and as a contribution to the ongoing Integrated Review of international policy, how the United Kingdom might build upon its rhetorical commitment to prevent atrocities, to learn the lessons of past genocides, and to uphold the collective responsibility to protect.
As we have seen from recent and ongoing events in Xinjiang province, Myanmar, Syria and other situations of grave concern around the world, preventing atrocities is not a challenge of the past but of our world’s future. While all states must shoulder the burden of prevention and protection, we believe that as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, as a state which aspires to global leadership, and in the interests of a secure nation, Britain can and must narrow the gaps between the commitments it has made on the global stage on this agenda and their practical implementation. The Integrated Review and the decision to merge the Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office bring significant opportunities for the further integration of this agenda across Whitehall and Britain’s embassies. However, it also brings risks, as significant elements of the UK’s work on atrocity prevention falls outside of these areas; for example in the fields of export licencing, education, border policy and trade. It is therefore vital that the UK take advantage of this moment to outline a national strategy of atrocity prevention.