Genocide denial has proven to be an obstacle to meaningful reconciliation and is detrimental to peace and justice in societies that have a legacy of atrocities. It is not only an attempt to minimize or redefine the scale and severity of the crimes committed but often contributes to the dehumanization of survivors and victims. It can prevent them from seeking appropriate restitution and disregards the need for psychosocial healing. Some scholars have therefore defined denial as the final stage of a genocidal process.
By systematically negating the facts of history, genocide deniers manufacture doubt, seed discord, and mistrust, strengthen contested narratives about the past, present, and future, and create conditions that may lead to the recurrence of atrocities. Social media platforms and digital technology are increasingly used to contradict, distort or entirely deny genocides and spread hateful messages that may influence offline violence.
Genocide denial on all platforms, including online, should be addressed and countered. Education can play an important role in preventing genocide denial by providing a forum to recognize and address past atrocities while promoting the knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes that can help prevent future identity-based violence. In many contexts, diaspora communities have taken a leading role in combatting genocide denial and advocating for the recognition of atrocities committed against their people. They are often better placed to mobilize internationally and create coalitions to raise awareness.
The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (GCR2P) is an independent organization that focuses on conducting research analysis and advocacy in relation to mass atrocity.
In today’s society, identity-based violence is becoming more common. Dweba, L. (2021), alluded to the fact that in the recent history of warfare, violence has never succeeded in resolving differences. Despite this finding, there is no explanation for why communities continue to utilize violence when it has never yielded a satisfactory result.
As historical and contemporary events on the African continent demonstrate, identity-based violence, like other mass atrocity crimes, can happen almost anywhere.
A minority group, known as the Banyamulenge in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for example, is living in deplorable conditions as a result of a long history of social marginalization, discrimination, and identity-based violence. The situation has the potential to be genocidal. After all, genocide does not happen by accident; rather, it requires foresight and planning on the part of the perpetrator.
As a result, education – which does not have to be limited to the classroom – may play a critical role in combating genocide denial and avoiding tragedies.
The GI ADVISORY is a research-based security firm, whose primary purpose is to contribute to safer communities and world order.