The cases here represent areas of focus for the Simon-Skjodt Center and are not an exhaustive list of mass atrocities in the past and present. You will find information here on historical cases of genocide and other atrocities, places where mass atrocities are currently underway or populations are under threat, and areas where early warning signs call for concern and preventive action.
Bangladesh emerged as a secular democracy in 1971 after a bloody independence war from Pakistan that was marked by mass killings by the Pakistani army and its collaborators. Our 2017 report examines scenarios in which Bangladesh could plausibly experience large-scale, systematic attacks on civilians, and explores ways to help avert these scenarios.
An estimated 100,000 people were killed during the conflict in Bosnia between 1992 and 1995, including the July 1995 genocide of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims from Srebrenica. Learn about what happened and what the international community could have done to prevent it.
Our bearing witness trips and reports detail the genocide committed against Burma’s Muslim Rohingya minority in 2017 as well as the continued threats to them and other religious communities in Burma.
Between 1975 and 1979, Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge subjected the country’s citizens to forced labor, persecution, and execution in the name of the regime’s ruthless agrarian ideology. Almost two million people—approximately one third of the country’s population—died in the “killing fields.” Learn more about this and the quest for justice in the decades since.
When English-speaking civilians began protesting discriminatory government policies in 2016, government security forces cracked down violently. Now, these forces and armed separatist groups from the English-speaking population are fighting. Each side is targeting civilians it perceives as disloyal. More than 3,000 people have been killed and over 700,000 forced to leave their homes. Learn more about civilians currently at risk of mass atrocities.
What began in 2013 as political violence initiated by rebel groups opposing the government of the Central African Republic took on a religious dimension with groups and individuals being targeted because of their Christian or Muslim identity. Read conflict background, a bearing witness account of the violence, and a study on the US government's response to the mass atrocity crisis.
The Chinese government is systematically persecuting Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities on the basis of their religion and ethnicity. There is a reasonable basis to believe that the government of China is committing crimes against humanity. Learn more about the conflict history and current threats to civilians.
As Côte d’Ivoire’s 2020 presidential elections near, the country is at risk for large-scale violence against civilians. Though atrocity crimes are not taking place in Côte d’Ivoire, early warning signs are visible and warrant attention. Read a 2019 report on the risks for violence and recommendations to mitigate them.
More than five million civilians have died in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in a series of complex wars and conflicts. Most have died from preventable diseases as a result of the collapse of infrastructure, lack of food and health care, and displacement. Learn more about the history of the conflict.
In 2014, the self-proclaimed Islamic State conducted a violent campaign against civilians in northern Iraq, targeting ethnic and religious minorities and committing genocide against the Yezidi people. The violence displaced more than 800,000 people and resulted in the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of civilians. Read our reports on the violence and the situation for survivors in the aftermath.
Today, there is a potential risk of mass atrocities in Mali as multiple armed groups vie for power. Though mass atrocities are not yet taking place in Mali, early warning signs are visible and warrant attention. Our 2018 report outlines three high-risk intercommunal conflicts and the potential for violence.
In 1994, between 500,000 and one million Rwandans were massacred in a genocide when a Hutu extremist-led government launched a plan to wipe out the country’s entire Tutsi minority and any others who opposed their policies. Learn more about what happened and what the international community could have done to prevent it.
In 2011, South Sudan’s citizens voted for independence from Sudan. The country faces great challenges as it seeks to build its democratic institutions, overcome a history of internal conflict based on ethnicity, and resolve ongoing tensions with Sudan over the region’s oil resources. Read a 2018 report examining atrocity prevention and US policy toward South Sudan.
Since the 1950s, the Arab-dominated government of Sudan has tried to impose its control on African minorities on the country’s periphery. More than 2.5 million civilians have been killed in a succession of brutal conflicts across many regions—including genocide in Darfur against the Fur, Zaghawa, and Masalit ethnic groups between 2003-2005. Learn more about the conflict history, violence, and international response.
Since March 2011, the conflict in Syria has cost the lives of nearly 500,000 people, displaced millions more, and involved numerous atrocities and crimes against humanity. Our reports outline the atrocities the Syrian regime is committing against its own people and threats that remain for those still living inside the country.
Zimbabwe’s ruling party has used mass atrocities against civilians to repress political opponents and consolidate power since the country gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1980. Our 2016 report assesses the risk for future mass atrocities in Zimbabwe as the country’s president consolidates authority after seizing power in a military coup.