In State Responses to Crimes of Genocide: What Went Wrong and How to Change It (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022) Dr Ewelina U. Ochab and Lord Alton of Liverpool bring together ongoing situations of genocide around the globe. Foregrounding the testimonies of victims, the authors' multiple visits to the aftermath of atrocities, and the countless actions taken by Lord Alton in British Parliament over his 40 year political career, this book is a chilling but essential read which compels a response. Atrocities are contextualised in the history of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. It poses the question as to what, if anything, has improved since the Genocide Convention was enacted in 1948.
In our interview, Dr Ochab and Lord Alton make the case that the international response to recent and ongoing genocides perpetrated against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, against belief minorities in Syria and Iraq, and in Nigeria and Dafur, have been inadequate. Instead, the global community must act to predict, prevent, protect and punish genocide. And while recent responses to these atrocities would seem to give little hope for the future, the book does aim to motivate action to prevent the crime of genocide in the future.
Dr Ewelina U. Ochab is a human rights advocate, author and co-founder of the Coalition for Genocide Response.
Lord David Alton of Liverpool was a Member of the House of Commons in British Parliament for 18 years, and is now an Independent Crossbench Life Peer.
Jane Richards is a doctoral student at the University of Hong Kong. You can find her on twitter where she follows all things related to human rights and Hong Kong politics @JaneRichardsHK
Jane Richards is a Lecturer in Law at York Law School, UK.