Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS) is a research institute based at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. It was founded in 1986 by members of the departments of History and Sociology/Anthropology. Well known in North America for its Will to Intervene (W2I) Project, the Institute specializes in research and teaching on the subject of genocide and human rights.


The institute was founded by Dr Frank Chalk, a professor in the History Department and current MIGS Director, and Dr Kurt Jonassohn, now a retired professor from the Sociology Department. The institute’s current focus is on its Will to Intervene Project, which is led by Kyle Matthews. LGen (ret’d) The Honourable Roméo Dallaire has been a Senior Fellow at MIGS since 2006 and cofounded the W2I Project.[1] MIGS also employs a large number of interns who volunteer on the W2I Project, or the Media Monitoring Project.

MIGS develops and manages major research programs focused on the prevention of genocide and crimes against humanity, educates comparatively about genocide, and helps survivors and their children end their isolation by building bridges with other survivors of genocide and mass atrocity crimes.[2]

Drawing on its research, MIGS aims to further understandings of the history, sociology and international legal frameworks pertaining to genocide, crimes against humanity, and reconciliation in their wake. MIGS advances these goals by organising workshops and conferences, sponsoring lectures, issuing reports, preparing books and articles, and training students who specialise in genocide studies at undergraduate, masters and doctoral levels. MIGS works locally, nationally and internationally to educate members of the public, the media, and government.[2]

Initiatives and projects[edit]

Over the years, MIGS has developed a number of research initiatives and projects which aim to collect and disseminate knowledge about the historical origins of mass killings. Graduate and Postgraduate students and faculty at Concordia have contributed to the Occasional Paper Series, which is available on the institute’s website. The institute collects archives on holocaust memoirs, radio transcripts and magazines from during the time of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, and memoirs from the Ukrainian Famine.[3]

MIGS’ Will to Intervene Project aims to understand how to mobilise domestic political will in order to prevent or halt genocide and mass atrocities.[2] The institute published a policy report in 2009 entitled “Mobilizing the Will to Intervene: Leadership and Action to Prevent Mass Atrocities” as part of its Will to Intervene Project. This report was then published as a book in 2010 by McGill-Queens University Press. This report was based on over 80 interviews carried out with high level Canadian and American policy makers and makes recommendations to these governments about how to better mobilise domestic political will.[4]

Other initiatives include the Media Monitoring Project, which is carried out by MIGS interns. This project monitors the domestic media, both government owned and privately owned, in high priority countries such as Sudan, Cote d'Ivoire, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo in order to act as an early warning system to help prevent genocide and mass atrocity crimes.[5] When writing their reports, the interns are focus their scrutiny and analysis on: 1) hate propaganda, 2) omissions of key information from news broadcasts, 3) evidence of increasing government control over the distribution of news, 4) the emergence of novel, participatory media vehicles known to deeply penetrate listeners’ psyches, and 5) reports of victims murdered on the basis of their ethnicity, nationality, race, religion, political affiliation, and social status.[6]


  1. ^ "Roméo Dallaire named Senior Fellow". Retrieved 2011-02-11. 
  2. ^ a b c Chalk, Frank, Dallaire, Roméo, Matthews, Kyle, Barqueiro, Carla and Doyle, Simon, “Mobilizing the Will to Intervene: Leadership to Prevent Mass Atrocities” (McGill Queens University Press, Montreal:2010), p. 189
  3. ^ "Montreal Institute For Genocide and Human Rights Studies". Retrieved 2011-02-11. 
  4. ^ "the_report". Retrieved 2011-02-11. 
  5. ^ "MIGS: The Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies". 2007-05-15. Retrieved 2011-02-11. 
  6. ^ Chalk, Frank, Monitoring African Governments’ Domestic Media to Predict and Prevent Mass Atrocities: Opportunities and Obstacles in Robert I. Rotberg (ed), “Mass Atrocity Crimes: Preventing Future Outrages”, World Peace Foundation, 2010, p. 220 – 238