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The BBC's Jon Silverman
'Such an initiative was urged on the UN 15 years ago'
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Friday, 21 July, 2000, 08:27 GMT 09:27 UK
Causes of genocide probed
Skulls following the 1994 genocide in Rwanda
Rwanda's mass slaughter of 1994 was predicted but not prevented
The Genocide Prevention Research Initiative, known as Aegis, will bring together academics from around the globe.

It will research the causes of genocide and suggest strategies for future intervention by governments and organisations to try to stop it happening again.

Launched in the UK, the project has the backing of many distinguished academics and politicians.

Its patrons include Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and the holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel.

It also has the support of the Foreign Office and Judge Richard Goldstone, the chief prosecutor at the war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

'Systematically slaughtered'

Friday's launch forms part of a day-long event called Evil and Indifference: Is there an End to Genocide?

Open to the public it is expected to attract around 500 people to London's Westminster Central Hall.

The event is being organised by Remembering For The Future, an organisation which aims to increase world-wide knowledge of the holocaust.

Wife of Robert Maxwell, Dr Elisabeth Maxwell
Dr Elisabeth Maxwell will open the proceedings
Its executive chairman Dr Elisabeth Maxwell, widow of Robert Maxwell, will open proceedings.

Among the speakers will be Trevor Phillips, chairman of the new Greater London Authority, who will deliver an address on Genocide: Will we know it when we see it?

The new international research initiative emerged from the success of the Beth Shalom Holocaust Memorial Centre near Nottingham.

The centre's co-founder and director Stephen Smith said: "During the 20th century millions of people were systematically slaughtered just because they belonged to particular ethnic groups - Armenians, Gypsies, Jews, Rwandans are just a few examples.

"Every time we say it must never happen again, but we are still no nearer to understanding when and why genocide will recur.

"Aegis is the first serious attempt to reduce the incidence of genocide by understanding the process and stopping it as quickly as possible.

"Preventing genocide must be better than looking for palliatives after the event."

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17 Jul 00 | Africa
Rwanda counts its dead
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