Barriers to Change


1)IBMV is not seen as a global phenomenon

Identity-based violence (IBV) and Identity-based mass violence (IBMV) are too often viewed as individual catastrophes rather than a global phenomenon that can occur almost anywhere. This leads to issue-specific awareness that draws attention to the plight of a particular victim group or problem region.


2) IBMV is not seen as issue of conscience

IBV, IBMV and prevention, prediction, protection and Justice approaches (PPPJ) are presented as political issues rather than issues of conscience. In domestic politics worldwide, identity-based hatred is often orchestrated through the exploitation of difference by those in power in order to benefit politically in someway. In foreign policy, incidents of IBMV are addressed in parliaments along party-political lines rather than through cross-party consensus. 


3)IBMV is not seen as economic priority

PPPJ policies and mechanisms require considerable investment. Yet it is not widely understood that early PPPJ approaches are economically beneficial, preventing the severe economic and social consequences of IBMV that can cripple nations and regions for decades.

The Problem

Help to end

identity-based violence


Photograph, Auschwitz concentration camp, Poland

Identity-based violence


Every day around the world thousands of individuals are violently targeted because of their identity. Identity-based violence is perpetrated against people because of their race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, culture, gender, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. Identity-based violence can be committed against one person or an entire group.


Identity-based mass violence is when large numbers of victims are involved and can often be legally defined as crimes against humanity. When such violence occurs during conflicts, it can be described as war crimes. If a national, ethnic, racial or religious group is targeted for partial or total destruction, this is called genocide. Although these terms are useful they are legal definitions of international crimes and so must be proved in a court of law before they can be accurately and appropriately used. In addition, the crime of genocide, as defined by the United Nations Genocide Convention, does not include attempts to partially or totally destroy groups because of their culture, political affiliation, gender, or sexual orientation.


Protection Approaches believes that any attempt to destroy individuals or entire groups because of their identity is abhorrent. This is why we have developed the terminology of identity-based (mass) violence. We also use 'mass atrocities', which is a non-legal catch-all term for crimes against humanity, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and genocide.