A video of Gregory Stanton, the president of Genocide Watch, warning India of a Genocide against Muslims, went viral over the weekend. In the video, he said that he had warned and predicted the Rwandan genocide of 1994 and is now predicting a similar genocide in India against Muslims.
Talking about 'Haridwar Dharam Sansad', a conference that was held from December 17-19 in Haridwar, Uttarakhand, where extremists called for Hindus to arm themselves and wage war against Muslims in India, the professor said, "We believe that (genocide) is (what) the Haridwar meeting was especially aimed at inciting. Incitement of genocide is a crime under the Genocide Convention, and it is law in India that incitement of genocide is illegal. That law must be enforced."
Stanton said that the language used against Muslims in the Haridwar meeting, was meant to dehumanise the minority community and create polarisation – conditions which lead to genocide.
In a briefing aired on 14 January, 2022, the founder of the United States based non-profit organisation said that 'Genocide Watch' has been speaking out warning of genocide in India since 2002, when riots and massacres that occurred in Gujarat killed over a thousand Muslims.
Observing that "Modi has not spoken out against that violence," the genocide studies specialist asserted that the prime minister of India had a moral obligation to denounce this kind of hate speech.
Gregory Stanton, President of Genocide Watch, speaks about #HaridwarGenocidalMeet.— Hussain Haidry (@hussainhaidry) January 15, 2022
He mentions the lack of strict legal action from the GoI.
He concludes with how he had predicted the genocide in Rwanda with the full awareness of its leader, and similar is happening in India. pic.twitter.com/vtxBnM8arJ
Nearly a month after the Haridwar event, Yati Narsinghanand, the chief organiser of the Haridwar event where incendiary speeches were made against Muslims, was arrested.
Yati Narsinghanand, who is also a mahamandaleshwar of the Juna Akhara, had been on a fast to protest the arrest of Waseem Rizvi alias Jitendra Narayan Tyagi in the same case. However, they have both been arrested. An SIT had been formed to investigate the case, but the first arrests — of Tyagi and Narsinghanand — have come only after Supreme Court notices to Centre, Delhi Police, and Uttarakhand government on January 10.
What is Genocide Watch?
Dr Stanton founded Genocide Watch,a non-governmental organisation campaigning against genocide, in 1999. Based out of Washington D.C., Genocide Watch is the chair and coordinator of the Alliance Against Genocide, which includes 70 organisations in 24 countries, including the Minority Rights Group, the International Crisis Group, the Aegis Trust, and Survival International. Its board of advisers includes former commander of United Nations peacekeeping forces in Rwanda Roméo Dallaire, former Nuremberg Prosecutor Benjamin Ferencz, former US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power,and former UN Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng.
In 2010, Genocide Watch was the first organisation to assert that the 1980s Gukurahundi massacres in Zimbabwe met the definition of genocide, calling for the prosecution of Zimbabwean leaders including president Robert Mugabe.
The organisation with Alliance Against Genocide have led coalition efforts to end genocides in Kosovo, East Timor, Sudan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Myanmar and sounded genocide alarms for many countries over the years.
Can Genocide Be Predicted?
To predict genocides, the Center for the Prevention of Genocide at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum built a database of every mass killing since World War II. Through that data, they derive the conditions in the countries where the killings occurred just prior to the attacks.
The museum's computer model analyses statistics that does not seem to be related to genocide. Factors such as fluctuations in per capita gross domestic product, infant mortality rates, overall population, they believe, are indicators of inequality, poverty and economic instability.
Lawrence Woocher, the research director at the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, who have worked on 'Early Warning Project' since 2014 had told NPR that the most dangerous in their list appears to be a regime that's not a full dictatorship but also not a full democracy.
However, Dr Stanton, founder of 'Genocide Watch', disagrees with their method. He believes one should look at events to predict mass killings instead of looking at statistics.
Dr. Gregory Stanton's "The Ten Stages of Genocide" is the conceptua framework on which Genocide Watch has made its predictions. The 10 stages that Dr Stanton says may not occur linearly and may occur simultaneously are: Classification, Symbolisation, Discrimination, Dehumanisation, Organisation, Polarisation, Preparation, Persecution, Etermination and Denial.
At the time of the Rwandan genocide in 1994, Stanton was working in the State Department. "I've read the confidential cables that came in from Rwanda from our ambassador there months before that genocide. And they knew it was coming," Santon had said, talking about the US government officials and then President Bill Clinton.
Stanton's Genocide Watch has previously given a genocide warning for Kashmir after India's only Muslim majority state was stripped of its autonomy and statehood in August 2019, and for Assam, where millions of Bengali Muslims faced losing citizenship following the Citizenship Amendment Act.
"This is a classic case of denial of citizenship in order to deprive a minority ethnic and religious group of its rights. It could become a prelude to another genocide like Myanmar's genocide against its Rohingya Muslims," Genocide Watch had said on the Assam alert. The organisation had called upon the UN and its member countries to warn India to not commit a genocide in Kashmir.
While the intention for predicting and stopping genocide is admirable, Africa Check, in its detailed analysis of the tool used by 'Genocide Watch' pointed out that it lacks in transparency. The methodology used to rank countries is not clear. Research director of the World Peace Foundation and lead researcher on the Mass Atrocities Research Program, Bridget Conley-Zilkic, told Africa Check that the organisation's theory of genocide is based on a limited number of cases where genocide or violence of that nature did occur. She said that these "warning signs" occur in many countries where they do not produce or lead to large-scale killings or genocide.
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