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RtoP Listserv
1 April 2010
 
**DRC December 2009 massacre, First Annual Gareth Evans Lecture at City University New York, Sudan 365 Campaign**
 
I. Reports call attention to Congo massacre in December 2009  
1. Todd Howland, Director the UN’s joint human rights office in Kinshasa refers to RtoP
2. Human Rights Watch report: DR Congo-Lord’s Resistance Army Rampage Kills 321
 
II. Featured civil society workshops on RtoP
1. Oxfam Australia outcome document of November 2009 RtoP Workshop on NGOs and the Prevention of Mass Atrocity Crimes
2. Global Action to Prevent War outcome document of February 2010 workshops on Civilian Protection, UN Peacekeeping and Human Security: Perspectives From the Central African Region
 
III. Upcoming Events
1. 7 April 2010: United Nations and Permanent Mission to Rwanda present The 16th Commemoration of the Rwandan Genocide
2. 10 April 2010: Sudan 365—Global Day of Action in preparation for Sudan’s first multi party elections for over 20 years, to take place April 11th
3. 15 April 2010: The Global Centre on R2P presents Inaugural Gareth Evans Lecture delivered by Lord Patten at City University of New York
 
 
 
I. Reports call attention to Congo massacre in December  
 
1. Todd Howland, Director the UN’s joint human rights office in Kinshasa remarks on Congo and international responsibility to protect
28 March 2010
UK Observer
 
'Stench of death' in Congo confirms resurgence of Lord's Resistance Army
Fighters from Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army have hacked or beaten to death at least 321 Congolese villagers in one of the worst single atrocities of their 23-year insurgency. The attacks occurred in a remote part of northern Democratic Republic of Congo between 14 and 17 December last year, but their scale has only now been made public. (…)
 
The Ugandan military spokesman in Kampala, Lieutenant-Colonel Felix Kulayigye, denied that any significant attack had occurred at Makombo. He said that Operation Lightning Thunder – a US-backed Ugandan mission to destroy LRA bases in a Congolese national park in December 2008 – and follow-up operations had left the rebels with fewer than 200 fighters. "We do not believe that the LRA has the numbers or the time to kill 300 people in Congo."
 
But the UN joint human rights office in Kinshasa disagreed. Todd Howland said that the scale of the abductions since 2008 meant the LRA remained a serious threat. He said his office heard of the Makombo attack in January and asked Monuc to provide access to the area. But insecurity in the zone and difficult terrain meant investigators had to wait until 10 March to reach the site.
 
"You can question whether the Congolese government's reaction is adequate. But you can also question whether the UN member states have met their obligations under the international responsibility to protect."
 
Read full article here
 
2. Human Rights Watch reports: DR Congo: Lord’s Resistance Army Rampage Kills 321
28 March 2010
Human Rights Watch
 
The rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) killed at least 321 civilians and abducted 250 others, including at least 80 children, during a previously unreported four-day rampage in the Makombo area of northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo in December 2009. (…)
 
"The Makombo massacre is one of the worst ever committed by the LRA in its bloody 23-year history, yet it has gone unreported for months," said Anneke Van Woudenberg, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. "The four-day rampage demonstrates that the LRA remains a serious threat to civilians and is not a spent force, as the Ugandan and Congolese governments claim."
 
The 67-page report,"Trail of Death: LRA Atrocities in Northeastern Congo," is the first detailed documentation of the Makombo massacre and other atrocities by the LRA in Congo in 2009 and early 2010. The report, based on a Human Rights Watch fact-finding mission to the massacre area in February, documents the brutal killings during the well-planned LRA attack from December 14 to 17 in the remote Makombo area of Haute Uele district.
 
LRA forces attacked at least 10 villages, capturing, killing, and abducting hundreds of civilians, including women and children. The vast majority of those killed were adult men, whom LRA combatants first tied up and then hacked to death with machetes or crushed their skulls with axes and heavy wooden sticks. The dead include at least 13 women and 23 children, the youngest a 3-year-old girl who was burned to death. LRA combatants tied some of the victims to trees before crushing their skulls with axes. (…)
 
The United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Congo (MONUC) has some 1,000 peacekeeping troops in the LRA-affected areas of northeastern Congo - far too few to protect the population adequately, given the area's size.  Yet instead of sending more troops, the peacekeeping force, under pressure from the Congolese government to withdraw from the country by July 2011, is considering removing some troops from the northeast by June in the first phase of its drawdown. "The people of northeastern Congo are in desperate need of more protection, not less," said Van Woudenberg. "The UN Security Council should stop any drawdown of MONUC peacekeeping troops from areas where the LRA threatens to kill and abduct civilians." (…)
 
The Human Rights Watch research indicated that the Makombo massacre was perpetrated by two LRA commanders - Lt. Col. Binansio Okumu (also known as Binany) and a commander known as Obol. They report to Gen. Dominic Ongwen, a senior LRA leader who is believed to command the LRA's forces in Congo and who is among those sought by the International Criminal Court. Human Rights Watch urged investigations of these commanders' alleged participation in war crimes and crimes against humanity. (…)
 
Both governments publicly maintain that the LRA is no longer a serious threat in Congo and that the bulk of the rebel group has either moved to Central African Republic or has been killed or dispersed. These public declarations might have contributed to burying information about ongoing LRA attacks, leaving many victims feeling abandoned.  (…)
 
On March 11, 2010, the US Senate unanimously passed the Lord's Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act. If it becomes law, it will require President Barack Obama's administration to develop a regional strategy to protect civilians in central Africa from attacks by the LRA, to work to apprehend the LRA's leadership, and to support economic recovery for northern Uganda. The bill is currently before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. (…)
 
Read full article here
Read full “Trail of Death” report here
 
II. Featured Reports: Civil society workshops on RtoP
 
1. Oxfam Australia outcome document of November 2009 RtoP Workshop on NGOs and the Prevention of Mass Atrocity Crimes
16 March 2010
 
Oxfam Australia held a practical workshop entitled “NGOs and the Prevention of Mass Atrocities” on November 23-24, 2009 in Melbourne on current NGO engagement on RtoP in order to develop and share strategies in implementing the Responsibility to Protect throughout the Asia-Pacific Region. Participants were mainly emergency, development or advocacy practitioners of international NGOs in Australia but also included research institutions and a government department.
 
Executive summary
 
A participatory workshop NGOs and the Prevention of Mass Atrocities was held at Oxfam Australia’s head office in November 2009. The Workshop’s purpose was to build consensus around R2P, and how NGOs could apply R2P to their work with the aim of preventing genocide and crimes against humanity.
 
Five key themes emerged from the workshop.
 
1. R2P was seen to be both a benefit and a threat to NGOs’ advocacy efforts. It can be a benefit as it provides a framework of legal and moral internationally agreed obligations for States to act in the face of atrocity crimes. This is helpful when advocating with States and other stakeholders to act for the benefit of vulnerable populations. On the other hand, the highly political nature of R2P, and its perceived alignment with an ultimate use of force, means that applying the language of R2P can be offensive to States whose populations are at risk of atrocity crimes. This in turn politicizes any advocacy efforts to the point where NGO staff and operations may be threatened.
 
2. There is the need for significantly improved early warning mechanisms, and the establishment of response strategies and protocols for when early warning is given. Improved means for sharing information and using NGO complementarity and confidentiality should be developed. A part of this process is establishing risk management systems in order to protect information, sources of information, and access to information. Closely aligned to early warning is the work that needs to be done to prepare vulnerable communities for violence. There is much that NGOs can learn and provide in terms of community preparedness so that if violence does occur populations have the strongest possible chance of survival.
 
3. NGOs need to engage much more actively with those in the concert of R2P crimes. This includes international, regional, national and local stakeholders all of whom can be better engaged by NGOs, familiar with circumstances in the field, to protect vulnerable populations.
 
4. NGOs should familiarise themselves with international legal issues more    proficiently. This includes the relationship between R2P and the UN Security Council thematic issue of Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, and R2P and other international human rights, refugee, and international humanitarian law. NGOs need to clarify their position on R2P and the use of force (for those times when prevention has failed) and should also take into consideration their role as witness to international crimes. NGOs need to  resolve their relationship with the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the risks  associated with bearing witness.
 
5. Communication and education are key to the success of R2P and improved guidelines and materials on R2P, on what activities may constitute Pillar I and Pillar II elements of the principle and how R2P relates to other humanitarian practice. Communication involves the collection and dissemination of early warning data – not only to the international community but also to populations at risk. How NGOs communicate about the potential for a situation to deteriorate into R2P crimes without being seen to be overtly political and partial is an issue that also needs to be resolved. Education involves ensuring that States understand the different elements of R2P and are not threatened by the idea of R2P only as the use of force.
 
These key themes kept re-emerging throughout the two day workshop and highlighted the fact that there are theoretical vs practical difficulties in the implementation of R2P.
 
The workshop considered practical activities that could be undertaken as measures to prevent R2P crimes. Out of that workshop session, four areas were identified as requiring more work to effectively contribute to prevention efforts these are listed as recommendations 1-4 below. In addition there were three further areas which continually presented as ideas for further investigation. These are recommendations 5-7 below.
 
There is a need for R2P Pillar I and Pillar II guide and materials for education and training purposes.
 
1. NGOs should investigate how they can better engage with regional organisations to promote the prevention of R2P crimes.
 
2. Improved early warning systems should be developed to warn both communities and the international community, and protocols ensuring effective and efficient response.
 
3. Disaster preparedness for communities in areas prone to violence and at risk of R2Pcrimes was an important element of protection and strategies and methodologies should be further developed.
 
4. There was a proposal for a Humanitarian Ombudsman – a neutral, impartial, and universal office that could speak out on R2P and other controversial issues without risking NGO staff or presence could be useful and should be explored. This may serve to address the highly charged and political nature of R2P, which makes R2P high-risk for NGOs and was a recurring concern throughout the workshop.
 
5. How NGOs engage with the ICC should be addressed. Questions of witness, presence and impunity need to be resolved.
 
6. Further education regarding the preventive aspects of R2P should serve to address the political nature of R2P and the corresponding risks to involved NGOs.
 
Read full outcome report here
 
2. Global Action to Prevent War outcome document of February 2010 workshops on Civilian Protection, UN Peacekeeping and Human Security: Perspectives From the Central African Region
March 2010
 
Global Action to Prevent War (GAPW), in partnership with the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Foundation (LUKMEF) in Limbe, Cameroon and the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect (ICRtoP) in New York, sponsored two workshops for military, government and civil society leaders in Cameroon and neighboring countries on prospects for improving civilian protection and human security within the Central African region. These workshops were funded by the Ira Wallach Fund for the Eradication of Genocide, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the ICRtoP with supplemental support from Michael and Nan Frydland and Richard Fuller. 
 
The Cameroon workshops represent the latest in a series of programs designed to bring into regional settings the strategies, tools and norms debated within the international community to prevent and address atrocity crimes and other major threats to human security and good governance. With workshops in Pretoria, Manila, Jakarta and Brazilia already completed, GAPW came to Cameroon to help ensure that the security needs and aspirations of the region’s diverse communities and constituencies are fully vetted and subsequently made available to help influence global policy. The Yaounde workshop was led by Christian Tanyi of LUKMEF, and included diverse regional leaders in civilian protection, including Voke Ighorodje (a consultant to the ICR2P from Nigeria), Anne Nkwain Nsang (director of the regional UN Information Centre), and Andre Kabi (Handicap Afrique in the DRC). Participants in Yaounde looked at a range of issues impacting civilian-military relations, the role of women in peace processes, efforts to promote good governance, and prospects for more robust preventive and diplomatic efforts to address in their earliest stages atrocity crimes and other grave threats to human security. Attention was also given to new peacekeeping tools and capacities being developed for community, regional and international use, including GAPW’s proposal for a United Nations Emergency Peace Service (UNEPS).
 
The second workshop, also focused on civilian protection priorities, was co-organized by Ben Oru at the University of Buea and was the first of what will be several university briefings held this year throughout Cameroon, and perhaps the region, on tools and norms for promoting civilian protection and human security, including the important norm of the responsibility to protect. Central Africa proved to be a challenging environment in which to organize, but it is also a region of hopeful new civil society influences, abundant human and natural resources, and government and military officials who are becoming weary of armed conflict and are more interested in connecting skills across professional contexts to enhance community and national security. It is also a region where security issues are engaged holistically, where development priorities require progress on arms transfers and where dialogue across issues and professional sectors is desired and engaged with increasing seriousness. GAPW hopes to sustain a long-term relationship with LUKMEF and the other institutional representatives who participated in our workshops, including UN, government and military officials. (…)
 
See full report here
 
III. Upcoming Events:
 
1. The 16th Commemoration of the Rwandan Genocide at the United Nations New York
7 April 2010, 5:15pm-7:30pm
UN Headquarters New York, North Lawn Building, ECOSCO Chamber
 
The United Nations Department of Public Information along with the Permanent Mission to Rwanda present: The 16th Commemoration of the Rwandan Genocide.
 
Remarks by Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Rwanda Louise Mushikiwabo (TBC), Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide Francis Deng, Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect Edward Luck, Rwandan genocide survivor Jacqueline Murekatete, moderated by Under Secretary General Kiyo Akasaka.
 
Film screening of documentary: As We Forgive, a documentary about reconciliation in Rwanda narrated by Mia Farrow. With Director Laura Waters Hinson and Rwandan genocide survivor Yvette Rugasaguhunga, moderated by Under Secretary-General Akasaka.
 
 
2. Sudan 365—Global Day of Action in preparation for Sudan’s first multi party elections for over 20 years, to take place April 11th
11 April 2010
 
On January 9th 2010 a global drumbeat echoed around the world as people across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas came together to call on their governments to prevent a return to severe and widespread conflict in Sudan. Communities in over 15 countries gathered to participate in a global ‘beat for peace’ which marked the launch of Sudan 365 - a year-long campaign, calling on world leaders assist Sudanese parties reach a peaceful resolution to the challenges facing their country in the run up to the a landmark referendum in January 2011 in which the South will decide whether to separate from the North.
 
The next Global Day of Action will be held on 10 April. You can organize a public drumming event, market drumming for the Day of Action at other events or public spaces, or simply film yourself drumming with instruments, pots and pans, or anything else you have. You can also join “Sudan Watch” and let world leaders know that violence in Sudan is unacceptable and must be stopped.
 
Join us on facebook at Sudan365: A beat for peace
Join us on twitter
Visit Sudan365 for more details.
 
3. Inaugural Gareth Evans Lecture delivered by Lord Patten
15 April 2010, 6pm to 7:30pm
Proshansky Auditorium The Graduate Center, CUNY
 
Rt. Hon. Lord Patten of Barnes CH delivers the First Annual Gareth Evans entitled: On being a Multilateralist: R2P and Other Challenges
  
To honor the contributions made by Hon. Gareth Evans in developing and promoting the norm of the responsibility to protect (R2P), the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect cordially invites you to the first annual Gareth Evans Lecture to be held on Thursday 15 April at 6 pm.
 
 
 
Thanks to Anita Issagholyan for compiling this listserv.
 

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