Advancing an Anti-Atrocity Agenda for the 21st Century

The shift of the African Union (AU) from a norm of non-interference to one of non-indifference has had significant consequences for how the continent’s leading organization engages in the prevention of and response to systematic violence against civilians. Overall, there have been reductions in the scale of lethal violence directed against civilians on the continent since 1997, although with troubling increases beginning in 2008 and sharply escalating after 2012 (see Table 1.1). The impact should not be measured solely or even largely in relation to the specific mechanisms designed to prevent and respond to atrocities, defined herein as widespread and systematic violence against civilians. Rather, to assess of the AU work’s on situations that threaten civilians with violence, one must situate prevention and response within the larger context of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA).

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