ADDIS ABABA — A meeting on the role of religious actors from Africa in preventing incitement to violence which could lead to atrocity crimes will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 9-10 May 2016.
Religious actors representing different faiths from a broad range of countries participate in the meeting, including Burundi, the Central African Republic, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe. They will work together over two days to develop a strategy to prevent and counter incitement to discrimination, hostility and violence in the region.
In recent years, there has been a marked increase in atrocity crimes perpetrated both by states and by non-state armed actors. The violence that leads to these crimes often starts with an escalation of tensions between ethnic and religious communities, which is often preceded and triggered by “hate speech” and incitement to violence. As key influencers and voices of authority in their communities, religious actors have a key role to play in preventing incitement to violence.
The meeting has been co-organized by the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect;International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID), the World Council of Churches;Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers.
At the meeting, participants will learn to recognize what constitutes incitement, identify best practices and lessons learned by peer religious leaders and actors for the prevention of incitement and examine ways in which religious actors can act fast and decisively to identify, counteract and prevent incitement, particularly in situations where there is an imminent risk of violence.
The meeting will also explore the role of religious actors from Africa in preventing and combating the radicalization of youth and in engaging with radicalized youth, including those who come back from conflict areas, for the purposes of rehabilitating and reintegrating them into society.