Europe's Prevention Crisis

Europe's Prevention Crisis


Europe is currently facing a prevention crisis. The rise in nationalist and exclusionary far-right politics across the continent is increasing discrimination, marginalisation, and persecution, and is threatening the fabric of Europe’s societies. This crisis is both a symptom and a driver of what is a broader yet preventable global phenomenon, one that risks undermining the hard-fought gains of the post-1945 human rights order.


Europe can and should be a global leader in protecting populations from the threats of identity-based violence, including mass atrocities. This responsibility to prevent and to protect is as much the case within and at its own borders as in its contributions abroad. European civil society should likewise be leading by example, applying scrutiny to national and regional policy-making, and championing a bolder approach to prevention.

After conversations with the Office of the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Genocide, and with the EU External Action Service, Protection Approaches decided to map civil society efforts to prevention - looking at what is being done, what works, and possible improvements to stem a rising tide of hatred.


Our report draws from a number of formal and informal conversations with concerned stakeholders. As part of our outreach, Protection Approaches conducted initial scoping discussions on the state of European prevention activities at the External Action Service in January and May of 2019, gathering together a number of key practitioners to discuss existing approaches to prevention, consider the advantages of further harmonisation and network-building across the civil society space, and build a more effective narrative for addressing the threat of rising identity-based violence.


As a result of these discussions, Protection Approaches convened a three-day online consultation: a carbon-friendly, innovative and digital method of drawing together a representative sample of European civil society for discussion and dialogue. Three key system changes, to improve the whole of prevention of identity-based violence, emerged. States, civil society, and academia should work together to:


1. Reframe the challenge, rearticulating that what are too often seen as disconnected problems are part of the same cross-cutting issue.


2. Integrate and prioritise prevention. Early warning systems and horizon-scanning to foresee tomorrow's challenges are preferable to firefighting - morally, politically, financially.


3. Connect the evidence, recognising that hate crime, violent extremism and the risks of mass atrocities share underlying factors, and can therefore be addressed in a joined-up manner.

How can civil society respond?

Read the report:

Help to end

identity-based violence