The twentieth century has been labelled the ‘century of genocide’. According to some estimates, more than 250 million civilians were victims of genocide and mass atrocities during this period. The Asia-Pacific region has not been immune. Genocide and mass atrocities have occurred in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in 1971, Indonesia (1965-66), Cambodia (1975-79) and East Timor (1975-1999). At the opening of the twenty-first century, efforts to halt this massive loss of innocent life culminated in the emergence and acceptance of the ‘responsibility to protect’ principle in international discourse. More effort than ever before is being channelled towards preventing mass atrocities.
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