Skip to main content
News_

Fifteen nations placed on genocide watchlist

4 August 2016
Violence-strewn South Sudan deemed most at risk

The chief investigator of the University's Atrocity Forecasting Project has urged 'intensive monitoring' of nations facing significant risk of genocide.

A photograph of kids playing on a street in Juba, South Sudan, in February 2012. Image: iStock

Children playing on a street in Juba, South Sudan, in February 2012. Image: iStock

South Sudan, Syria, and Russia are among 15 countries facing heightened risks of genocidal or political violence, according to projections released by the University of Sydney's Atrocity Forecasting Project.

The project has identified South Sudan, Sudan, and Iraq as the three leading risks globally.

To produce its 2016-2020 forecasts, the project used data collated between 1956 and 2014 on a range of variable factors including instability, regime change, neighbour conflict, guerrilla tactics, civil war, interstate war, and elections.

The project’s chief investigator, Associate Professor Ben Goldsmith, said the forecasts can enable governments and NGOs to make decisions about the allocation of scarce resources to prevent the onset of genocide and politicide in a handful of the most at-risk nations. 

“We are not aware of a genocide forecasting approach with a record of higher accuracy or reliability,” said Associate Professor Goldsmith

“We urge intensive monitoring of these 15 countries as first priority, highest risk cases. If genocide is going to happen anywhere around the world in the next five years, the chances are that it will happen in one or more of these countries.”

Associate Professor Goldsmith said the forecasts underscored the need for satellite monitoring, scrutiny from political risk analysts, and attention from intelligence analysts in the United States, Europe and Australia. 

The project’s forecasts for 2016-2020 add 10 newly at-risk countries to the previous projections released in 2011.

A forthcoming paper details an assessment of the accuracy of the project’s 2011-2015 forecasts, which featured five of the nations that remain on the 2016-2020 watchlist; the Central African Republic, Somalia, Afghanistan, Syria and Libya.

The Atrocity Forecasting Project is funded by the Australian Research Council’s Discovery Grant program.     

 

We urge intensive monitoring of these 15 countries as first priority, highest risk cases
Associate Professor Ben Goldsmith

The forecasts

  • South Sudan
  • Sudan
  • Iraq
  • Nigeria
  • Yemen
  • Syria
  • Afghanistan
  • Somalia 
  • Russia
  • Libya
  • Mali
  • Central African Republic
  • Pakistan
  • Egypt 
  • Algeria

Luke O'Neill

Media and PR Adviser (Humanities and Social Sciences)

Related articles