The Cardozo Law Institute in Holocaust and Human Rights with Routledge/Taylor & Francis recently published an edited volume entitled Public Health, Mental Health, and Mass Atrocity Prevention. IntlLawGrrls Editor Jocelyn Getgen Kestenbaum is a co-editor of this book along with Caitlin Mahoney, Amy Meade, and Arlan Fuller.
The first multidisciplinary volume of its kind, this book is the product of two years of close collaboration to consider the various ways in which international human rights and rights-based approaches can promote public health and mental health policies and practices in the prevention of mass atrocity crimes—including war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. In June 2019, the editors convened academics and practitioners engaged in work at the intersections of these disciplines across various contexts and at various intervention points along the continuum of harms that can be defined as identity-based violence and/or atrocity crimes. Represented among these scholars and practitioners were psychologists, sociologists, social psychologists, epidemiologists, public health practitioners, political scientists, legal scholars, human rights practitioners, anthropologists, historians, peace studies scholars, and philosophers. All participants recognized that multidisciplinary tools and frames were critical to their work in their respective disciplines to identify effective strategies to disrupt causal pathways of identity-based violence, human rights abuses, and mass atrocity crimes.
One result of this work is this edited volume, where the authors of each chapter dive deeply into the public health and mental health rights dilemmas that emerge from prevention efforts related to identity-based violence and mass atrocity crimes. In this book, the authors examine the ways they can adapt rights and health frameworks, methods, research, tools, and practice toward a more sophisticated and truly interdisciplinary understanding and application of atrocity prevention. In its totality, the book demonstrates the current state of these various fields and the intersecting themes within human rights, public health, mental health, and mass atrocity prevention and, importantly, future potential directions for next steps.
The other product of this convening was a special issue published by the Harvard Health and Human Rights Journal that complements this edited volume. The special issue is free and open access to all online.