ECR2P Assists NGO Report on “Atrocity Prevention in UK Policy”

In the lead up to the UK General Election on June 8th, Protection Approaches this month released a new report entitled “Maintaining Momentum in a Changing World: Atrocity Prevention in UK Policy”. The report was authored by Protection Approaches Director of Research and Policy Dr. Kate Ferguson and ECR2P-POLIS PhD Researcher Ben Willis.

The report calls on the next UK government to show leadership in its foreign and international development policies by further advancing its commitment to mass atrocity prevention. The next government will face a global landscape where identity-based mass violence is rising and international leadership is in a state of flux. The report argues that as the country prepares to withdraw from the European Union, the government must ensure that normative commitments to atrocity prevention and civilian protection made through its membership of the EU are replicated in domestic frameworks and policy outputs.

During the next Parliament the UK will begin to redefine its identity as a European state outside of the European Union. The report suggests that at a time of global political uncertainty the new government will have a particular opportunity to wield its influence both at the United Nations and during its negotiations with new international partners outside of the EU. It argues that this brings with it an opportunity for the UK to further integrate atrocity prevention as an explicit priority as it begins to reorient economic, foreign, security and international developments policies as an outward-looking ‘Global Britain’.

The report lays outs the current state of UK policy towards mass atrocity prevention and the need to go further in meeting both existing and emerging challenges. It highlights the importance of translating current EU-based normative and financial commitments into UK national structures, as well as the necessity of enhancing both the legitimacy and coherence of any future UK protective military action.

Among a number of recommendations, the report advises that the new government should:

  • Commit to the prevention of mass atrocities as a national priority and a matter of national interest
  • Commit to integrating mass atrocity prevention and the prevention of identity-based mass violence into existing policy streams
  • Elevate the UK focal point for the Responsibility to Protect to a more public role in order to improve transparency and accountability
  • Ensure all relevant commitments made via membership of the EU are replicated in domestic frameworks so that de facto UK contributions to atrocity prevention are not reduced

On the use of force, the report also calls for:

  • A code of conduct to guide any future deployment of British forces in atrocity situations
  • A free vote in Parliament on all issues of protective military action as a matter of conscience

The full report can be accessed here. Any related enquiries can be directed to: +44 (0)20 3632 4545 / +44 (0)7715 475357