Stephen Twigg MP, Chair of the British All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Prevention of Genocide and Crimes against Humanity (APPG) and Senator Roméo A. Dallaire, Chair of the Canadian All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Prevention of Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity (GPG) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding formalising the bi-lateral relationship between the two parliamentary groups through a newly established framework of collaboration.

They were joined by Vice-Chair of the UK APPG, Lord Carlisle and by Dr Mukesh Kapila, Special Representative on Crimes against Humanity at Aegis Trust and Former United Nations Resident Coordinator for Sudan.

Stephen Twigg MP said that “parliamentarians must work together within and across national parliaments, to ensure that atrocity prevention and civilian protection agendas are prioritised, and rest above party politics.” He added, “as we address the lessons of 1994 genocide in Rwanda and whether we have learned from them, it is only right in this year marking the twentieth commemoration of the genocide that the UK and Canadian cross-party parliamentary groups for genocide and mass atrocities prevention strengthen their existing ties.”

 “These groups enable parliamentarians to come together, not carrying their party allegiances, but carrying their own moral and collective strengthen for the prevention of atrocity crimes,” commented Senator Dallaire, who served as UN Force Commander in Rwanda in 1994. “By doing so, we can hold our executives far more accountable for providing us with better policy and implementation tools.”

Dr. Mukesh Kapila noted that all-party groups such as those in the UK and Canada are not only important preventative tools, but an equally important for justice and accountability.

The British APPG formed in 2005, and the Canadian group formed in 2006, work to ensure that both the parliaments of the United Kingdom and Canada respectively do all they can to prevent, and protect civilian populations from genocide, other crimes against humanity, and the incitement to such crimes in accordance with the principles of The Responsibility to Protect (R2P).

These national parliamentary mechanisms for the prevention of atrocity crimes seek to increase the flow of independent information and analysis to parliamentarians about genocide and mass atrocities. They promote understanding of the importance of long-term approaches to genocide prevention among parliamentarians, encourage the exchange of information about strategies for the prevention of genocide and mass atrocities, and support parliamentarians to increase the effectiveness of their scrutiny of government.

Both cross-party groups work in conjunction with the United Nations Special Advisor for the Prevention of Genocide, the International Criminal Court, and other organisations working in the field of genocide prevention and post-conflict peace-building.

Senator Dallaire and Stephen Twigg MP praised the support provided to the UK APPG by Aegis Trust acting as the group’s Secretariat, and the partnership between the Canadian GPG and the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies as central to the success and work of both cross party groups.

The imperative for other national parliaments to establish similar cross-party parliamentary groups was also stressed. “From these groups”, Stephen Twigg noted, “we will be able to form a network that stretches to all corners and regions of the world, representing a global constituency united in our shared efforts to develop national capacity and commitment to uphold not only our responsibility to protect, but our ability to act”.

Development of this network of parliamentarians and parliamentary bodies is in its first exciting stages, but the Aegis Trust, as Network Secretariat, believes that formalisation of the bilateral relationship between the British APPG and the Canadian GPG signals a concrete step forward from which to strengthen the objectives of the Global Parliamentary Network initiative for the prevention of genocide and other mass atrocities.

For more information on the UK APPG or the Global Parliamentary Network, please