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In this issue: RtoP included in Securityc Council Resolution on the Protection of Civilians, Initiative for International dialogue challenges ASEAN to comply with int’l law 

I. Security Council--Protection of Civilians debate 


II. ASEAN People's Forum call on ASEAN to address inter-state conflicts


III. Featured Publications



IV. Past event featuring RtoP


I. Security Council--Protection of Civilians debate 
1. Security Council adopts Protection of Civilians resolution 1894, reaffirming RtoP
11 November 2009

Resolution 1894 reaffirms commitment to RtoP

The Security Council convened on Wednesday 11 November 2009 for the eighth open debate on the Protection of Civilians (POC) in armed conflict. Reaffirming its commitment to prevent the victimization of civilians in armed conflict and ending ongoing violence against civilians, the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1894. It is important to recall that back in 2006, Resolution 1674, on the Protection of Civilians was the first historic resolution to recognize and reaffirm the Responsibility to Protect as endorsed by all States during the 2005 World Summit. Similarly, this new Resolution contains the following paragraph related to RtoP:

Reaffirming the relevant provisions of the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document regarding the protection of civilians in armed conflict, including paragraphs 138 and 139 thereof regarding the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity (…)

RtoP a significant theme of the debate

Fifty-six Member States in addition to Palestine and Malta, the Non-Aligned Movement, the EU and the African Group participated in the debate. RtoP principles were significantly featured during the debate by fourteen States. In fact, Italy called RtoP a “cardinal achievement of the UN" and Ireland “an important vehicle” for advancing the Protection of Civilians agenda. Many States from all regions of the world mentioned the primary responsibility of each State to protect civilians from mass atrocities, and the role of the international community to assist States in fulfilling their protection obligations. Some States, mainly European, also welcomed the July 2009 GA debate on RtoP and the consequent GA resolution on RtoP. Only Sudan and Sri Lanka, while recognizing the responsibilities of each State towards the protection of populations, called on the international community to respect the principle of sovereignty.  

View excerpted statements by Member States on RtoP

Themes discussed during the POC debate

Echoing the July GA debate on implementing RtoP, the POC debate discussed three important themes related to the norm, namely:

  • A focus on the prevention of mass atrocities and on the need to strengthen UN early warning mechanisms
  • A majority of States mentioned the need to fight impunity by addressing violations of international humanitarian law and holding individuals accountable for mass atrocities, through national mechanisms or international ones such as the ICC
  • States called on the Security Council to act without selectivity to protect civilians from mass atrocities, emphasizing on the context of the crisis in Gaza.

Other themes in the debate included the need to provide peacekeeping operations with more effective protection mandates, training and resources and the need to obtain access and security for humanitarian groups in nations experiencing armed conflict, as expressed in the latest report of the Secretary-General (S/2009/277).
The relationship between POC and RtoP

Since 2006, the open debates of the Security Council on the Protection of Civilians have been a consistent opportunity for States to express their support for the norm, reflecting on the development and implementation of the norm. RtoP and the Protection of Civilians’ agenda share the same foundation, namely the protection of individuals under international humanitarian law, refugee law and human rights law. Neither can be reduced to the sole use of force but promote the prevention of conflicts and a wide range of measures. Yet, while complimentary, the two concepts are not synonymous. In terms of the scope of protection, RtoP is only a brick in the broader agenda of protecting civilians in armed conflict, focusing on four crimes only, namely genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. The POC agenda cares for the welfare of citizens caught in armed conflict beyond the protection of mass atrocities. However, while the POC agenda addresses the protection of civilians in the context of armed conflict, RtoP is focused on preventing and halting the four crimes, regardless of where and when they may occur.  

Please visit our page on the Protection of Civilians refer to the Global Centre’s report on the relationship between RtoP and POC.

II. ASEAN People's Forum call on ASEAN to address inter-state conflicts

1.  ICRtoP Member, Initiative for International dialogue calls on ASEAN to adhere to international laws and norms
14 November 2009

During a panel discussion on politics and security at the 2nd ASEAN People’s Forum in Cha-am, Thailand on October 18-20, 2009, Gus Miclat from Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) –also steering committee member of the ICRtoP— called on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to promote conflict prevention and develop mechanisms to address inter-conflicts. 

“Clearly, there is enough basis in the blueprint for ASEAN to address intra-state conflicts. They are in fact reflective and consistent with international norms and instruments such as the Geneva Convention on International Humanitarian Law; Responsibility to Protect, and even United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1674 pertaining to the role of women in peacebuilding and ensuring protection of civilians in armed conflict respectively.” Gus Miclat, IID Executive Director said during the ASEAN Civil Society Conference held in Cha-am, Thailand on October 18-20, 2009.

IID is pushing for a more pro-active ASEAN in the prevention of internal state conflicts in the region’s conflict affected areas like Southern Mindanao in the Philippines, Bandah Aceh and Papua in Indonesia. (…)

Miclat said that the political security sector will be active in offering its recommendations in coming up with the political- security mechanisms. The proposed Asian-Pacific Political Security Community (APSC) is aimed at ASEAN members to pursue closer interaction and cooperation to forge shared norms and create common mechanisms in the political and security fields.

He added that although the APSC mentions the promotion of a people oriented ASEAN, it is still perceived as state-centric, and thus, there is a need for an avenue where the government and civil society could work together in dealing with political and security issues.

“Civil society should have a direct and substantive engagement in the national and regional political security community to gather inputs on, assess and assist in the implementation of the blueprint,” Miclat said. (…)

Read full article here.  Read more about IDD

III. Featured publications

1. Stanley Foundation policy brief: Sudan and the Implications for the Responsibility to Protect
The Stanley Foundation
1 October 2009

Former US presidential special envoy to Sudan Richard Williamson writes that the continuing anemic response of the international community to the “slow motion genocide” in Darfur undermines efforts to give meaning to “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P). While this consequential emerging norm was embraced by more than 175 nations, including the United States, at the 2005 UN World Summit, the complexities of the Sudan situation and the politics of the United Nations frustrate even the semblance of actual implementation.

Ambassador Williamson stresses that, to be consequential, R2P must be more than another development program and must give meaning to the rhetoric of “Never Again!” He stresses that collective action to stop genocide and mass atrocities remains an enormous challenge for the 21st century. R2P should become an effective instrument to protect the innocent.

Read the full brief.

2. The Peace and Security Council Report
Institute for Security Studies
Security Council Report
2 November 2009

The Addis Ababa office of the Institute for Security Studies of South Africa, in association with the Security Council Report, is introducing a ‘
The Peace and Security Council Report’. This publication will provide monthly reports on the activities of the AU Peace and Security Council. 

Read the November 2009 edition or subscribe to receive the Peace and Security Council Report regularly.

IV. Past events featuring RtoP

1. Pledge 2 Protect: ICRtoP and Coalition Member IRR participate in genocide-prevention 2-day conference
6-9 November 2009

The Pledge2protect conference took place 6-9 November 2009 in Washington, DC on Capitol Hill. Seeking to “create an experience for participants that would empower them to become stronger leaders on their campuses and in their communities”, participants attended workshops and panel discussions on crises and themes around genocide prevention. The Conference was organized by the Genocide Intervention Network and its student-led division STAND, the Save Darfur Coalition, the Enough Project, and the United States Campaign for Burma and was attended by more than 700 participants. The ICRtoP participated as a partner and had the opportunity to engage participants on RtoP and how to use the norm in advocacy on genocide-prevention. Other partners included Campus Progress, Investors Against Genocide, and Jewish World Watch.     .

The conference opened with a discussion on the recommendations of the Genocide Prevention Task Force, where leading experts called on civil society groups to pressure the US into making the implementation of these recommendations a priority. Notably, Juan Mendez, former UN special advisor on the prevention of genocide, told conference attendees that the implementation of RtoP should be a priority at the UN and pointed to the need to strengthen UN early-warning mechanisms and ensuring that all leaders are held accountable to their populations. Mr. Mendez recognized that States should not use their veto power in situations of genocide and mass atrocities, but at the same time implementing RtoP should not hinge on Security Council reform. 

Breakout sessions were held on a variety of topics: one explored existing international norms and institutions to address genocide prevention, and discussed RtoPand how to build international political will. Other sessions discussed current crises in Sudan, DRC and Burma, including on sexual and gender-based violence and current international efforts to protect civilians. Olivia Bueno from the International Refugee Rights Initiative and the Darfur Consortium –also steering committee member of the ICRtoP—participated in a panel called The International Movement on Sudan: A Conversation with Global Advocacy Leaders. She shared the importance of collaboration with civil society at the international level and the need for international justice. The conference was an incredible opportunity to spread awareness about RtoP and discuss with US and world experts what civil society and students can do to prevent and end mass atrocities. 

Read the press release published by G.I. Net on the conference and the lobby day.

Thank you to Rachel Shapiro for compiling this listserv.


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