Member Sign In
International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect
PDF Print E-mail
ICRtoP Listserv
22 September 2010
Facebook: Join us!  
I. Policy Memo on next steps and entry points for Funders on RtoP
1. James Traub – Unwilling and Unable: the Failed Response to the Atrocities in Darfur
1. Voice of America -AIDS advocacy group says UN has failed Congolese women
2. UN News –UN outlines steps to boost civilian protection in DR Congo in the wake of mass rapes
1. Lloyd Axworthy and Allan Rock—the unfulfilled promise of UN protection
2. Erik Schechter—Should we stop the next genocide?
3. Stanley Foundation Courier—Is human protection a priority?
Keith Porter –Genocide and other mass atrocities must be strategically addressed
Rachel Gerber –What’s an ounce of prevention worth?
1. Policy Memo on next steps and entry points on RtoP
The Stanley Foundation
8 September 2010
On July 19, 2010, the Stanley Foundation brought together key actors in the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) community to provide an overview of the principle, reflect on recent developments, and begin discussion on best next steps. The meeting was facilitated by the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect (ICRtoP) program of the World Federalist Movement-Institute for Global Policy (WFM-IGP), and participants included peace, security, and human rights funders from the foundation and government sectors, as well as civil society groups, experts, and officials dedicated to the promotion of R2P.
The following provides a summary of the major topic areas discussed, as well as recommended next steps and entry points for interested funders. Opportunities to forward the R2P agenda range from educational outreach and advocacy to institutional capacity-building and conceptual development in underserved areas such as pre-crisis preventive engagement and the prevalence of systemic sexual violence.
Click here to read full Policy Memo
1. Unwilling and Unable: the Failed Response to the Atrocities in Darfur
Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
Jim Traub
9 September 2010
On 9 September, the Global Centre for R2P held a conference entitled “Sudan at a critical juncture: Panel discussion and Occasional Paper Launch” and presented the first Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect Occasional Paper entitled, “Unwilling and Unable: The Failed Response to the Atrocities in Darfur,” written by James Traub. Based on the report’s findings, guest speakers including Suliman Baldo (Director, International Centre for Transitional Justice) and Jean-Marie Guehenno (former USG for Peacekeeping Operations) shared policy recommendations and discussed the international community failure to prevent mass atrocities in Darfur from 2003 to 2008.
Executive Summary
Starting in mid-2003, the government of Sudan responded to an armed rebellion in the western state of Darfur with a massive campaign of killing and expulsion carried out both by regular army troops and by a proxy force known as the Janjaweed. United Nations (UN) sources estimate that this orchestrated effort led to the death of at least 300,000 people, while over two million were forcibly displaced. Extensive documentation by the UN, human-rights organizations and the media leaves no doubt that the Sudanese government and the Janjaweed committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, and did so over a period of many years. Yet all attempts to stop the killing, whether by neighbors, regional organizations, Western states or the UN Security Council, proved ineffective. In 2005, states—including Sudan—unanimously agreed that they had a responsibility to protect populations from mass atrocities; but this abstract commitment has had little effect on the Sudanese government or on other UN member states who had made this pledge.
This report from the Global Centre for The Responsibility to Protect examines the entire sequence of events and asks, first, why the world manifestly failed to stem the violence, and, secondly, what ought to have been done in the face of a state apparently determined to perpetrate atrocities upon its own people. Specifically, the study seeks to pinpoint when during the early period action might have either prevented or minimized the violence, and to stipulate what should and could have been done by many different actors who, at various times, engaged with the government of Sudan. Consistent with the doctrine of the responsibility to protect, the report focuses not on scenarios of military intervention, but rather on the vast array of instruments, consensual and coercive, available to the international community—diplomatic engagement and mediation, targeted sanctions, the introduction of peacekeeping forces and international criminal prosecution.
Across the many years of violence, these instruments were in fact deployed—but tardily and timidly. States could not agree on difficult measures, and Khartoum was quick to exploit the cracks in the international response. The report concludes with a series of lessons which can be taken from the conflict in Darfur and applied to other settings, especially those in which a state intentionally commits abuses against its own citizens. Among these are the imperative for the Security Council and other organs to heed the early or premonitory signs of violence and that over time, conflicts grow more intractable and complex, effectively precluding modes of action which might have worked at an earlier point. The report also highlights the inherent tensions or even contradictions of engagement, such as the sometimes rival claims of “peace” and “justice.” The goal of the responsibility to protect, the report concludes, is not “to mete out just desserts,” but to stop atrocities.
Click here to read full report
The mass rapes of over 500 women, including 20 children, that occurred in the Eastern province of the DRC between 30 July and 2 August and the failure of the UN peacekeeping mission (MONUSCO), to prevent and protect civilians have provoked a wave of criticism in the media and among civil society. On 31 August, MONUSCO launched a special operation known as ‘Shop Window’ that reinforced the UN Mission by over 700 peacekeepers to increase its ability to protect citizens. See here for more info
On 7 September, Assistant to Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Atul Khare and Special Representative of Sexual Violence in Conflict Margot Wallström, briefed the UN Security Council. They both recommended targeted sanctions against leaders of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and other perpetrators, insisting that they be brought to justice. Mr. Khare added that MONUSCO needed more night patrols as well as better communications and information-sharing tools such as standardized questionnaires and high frequency radios for the most isolated areas. Ms. Wallström pointed out that a collective effort, involving DPKO, UNIFEM and troop-contributing countries, would allow appropriate training for peacekeepers to better stop and prevent sexual violence in a timely fashion.
Unfortunately as AIDS-Free World co-Director Paula Donova points out, in spite of international efforts and media
mobilization in the past few weeks, the situation in DR Congo remains extremely volatile, while media coverage gradually fades away and the UN attention shifts to other matters.
1. AIDS Advocacy Group says UN Has Failed Congolese Women
Voice of America
Joe DeCapua
22 September 2010
An international HIV/AIDS advocacy group says the United Nations has failed the women of the Democratic Republic of Congo. AIDS-Free World says it’s time for the U.N. to stop passing resolutions on the Congo and take action.
The estimated number of rapes in the DRC since 1996 range anywhere from 200,000 to about 600,000 (…)
(…) AIDS-Free World Co-Director Paula Donovan says despite troops, resources and good intentions, the United Nations offers little or no protection to women.
“In every single aspect of its work,” she says, “the United Nations has failed the women of the Congo.  It seems never to reach a top priority and sustain its place at the top of the U.N.’s concerns for any period of time.  Something like the recent spate of rapes occurs.  It’s in the headlights for a couple of days and then it just disappears.”(…)
(…)“If the U.N. just went back to those shelves and pulled out and dusted off every resolution that it has agreed upon since 1996 – including, importantly, one that was agreed five years ago this week – the responsibility to protect – and act on them, then we could have some hope that the women of the Congo would actually be protected by more than just goodwill and words,” she says (…)
(…) “It’s just very easy to ignore the DRC because war in the DRC poses no immediate threat to the Western world, which holds the power and basically decides where we’ll intervene and where we’ll turn a blind eye,” she says (…)
(…) The United Nations is instituting more night patrols and random checks on villages.  It will also improve communication in areas where there is no mobile phone coverage by installing high frequency radio transmitters (…)
2. UN outlines steps to boost civilian protection in DR Congo in the wake of mass rapes
UN News
7 September 2010
The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has taken several measures to improve the protection of civilians in the east of the country following the recent incidents of mass rape, but establishing State authority in conflict-affected areas would be the most effective way to end lawlessness and violence, a senior UN official said today.
Outlining to the Security Council some of the actions that the mission, known as MONUSCO, had taken, Atul Khare, Assistant Secretary-General in the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), said the force last week launched an operation known as Shop Window, intended as a show of force and protection civilians measure in the areas of Pinga, Kibua and Walikale in North Kivu province, where the latest mass rapes took place.
The operation, carried out by some 750 peacekeepers with the support of attack and observation helicopters, is also aimed at providing security cover to efforts by national authorities to apprehend those suspected of committing the rapes (…)
(…) The Assistant Secretary-General voiced disappointment that the UN was unable to offer protection to the victims of the recent rapes. “While the primary responsibility for protection of civilians lies with the State, its national army and police force, clearly we have also failed. Our actions were not adequate, resulting in unacceptable brutalisation of the population of the population of the villages in the area. We must do better,” he said (…)
Mr. Khare stressed that the perpetrators of rampant sexual violence in eastern DRC must be quickly brought to justice. “MONUSCO will make all efforts, including a more aggressive posture of peacekeepers, force multipliers such as [MONUSCO’s] Radio Okapi, information-gathering on these people and the like, to assist the efforts of the Government of DRC in this direction.”(…)
(…) The Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence, Margot Wallström, made an impassioned plea for justice and protection of those subjected to the brutality of rape, urging the UN and the international community to act decisively.
“We can not turn back time for the victims of Kibua, or for countless other survivors of brutal acts of organised sexual violence. As we strive to help these survivors, we must do our utmost to ensure there are no more victims,” said Ms. Wallström. ‘These unconscionable acts must spur every one of us as protection ‘duty bearers’ to immediate and concerted action. This is our collective responsibility to the survivors; and, our collective signal to the perpetrators who are watching and waiting to see how the world will react. Our policies of ‘zero tolerance’ cannot be backed by a reality of ‘zero consequences’,” she said.
Ms. Wallström said the UN cannot afford to shy away from confronting its own shortcomings, saying an examination of its actions, in a spirit of transparency and accountability, must form the basis for improving civilian protection in future.
“We must confront squarely the fact that we were slow to respond to existing information” (…)
Click here to read full story
Click here to read latest Security Council Report article on DR Congo.
For more information on protecting Congolese civilians, and more specifically IDPs, see 14 September 2010 Human Rights Watch Report “Always on the Run”.
1. The Unfulfilled Promise of UN protection
Lloyd Axworthy and Allan Rock
The Globe and Mail
15 September 2010
Lloyd Axworthy is president of the University of Winnipeg and a former Canadian foreign minister. Allan Rock is president of the University of Ottawa and a former special adviser to the United Nations on Sri Lanka.
Five years ago this week, with the horrors of Rwanda and Srebrenica still vivid in memory, the members of the United Nations vowed to take collective action, including military force if necessary, to prevent or stop mass violence within a state when the national government is unable or unwilling to do so. (…)
(…) As former political practitioners who respectively played a role in the conception of R2P (through the establishment of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty) and then its adoption (by leading the Canadian advocacy and negotiation efforts at the 2005 UN World Summit in New York), we find after five years reason for both encouragement and disappointment.
On the positive side, R2P is increasingly secure as an emerging norm of international conduct. It has been reaffirmed by the UN Security Council in responding to protection issues. The Secretary-General has created in-house mechanisms to institutionalize it. Best of all, a 2009 debate in the General Assembly that might have risked a repeal turned instead into an overwhelming confirmation of its value.
On the other hand, R2P has failed to fulfill its promise in places such as Darfur and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Theoretical advances are of no comfort to defenceless civilians savaged by lawless militias or wicked regimes. Even R2P’s most ardent advocates have asked whether anything has really changed. Why didn’t this breakthrough save civilian populations whose own governments were unable or unwilling to protect them? We suggest that there are two related issues to be addressed before R2P can move fully from paper to practice.
First, resort to R2P has been timid and halting. In Darfur, it should have been the fulcrum to leverage wider condemnation of the Khartoum regime. Early and vigorous shunning might have halted the state-sponsored violence. In the Congo, the sexual devastation of vast numbers of women by roving criminals is an atrocity needing an international response because the national government is incapable of protecting them. In such clear cases, we should lose our shyness about invoking R2P. Timely and concerted action – even well short of military intervention (the very last resort) – can save lives.
Second, the R2P “toolbox” must be filled with items needed to make the concept operational. The early-warning system agreed to in 2005 has yet to be put in place. R2P still lacks a gender dimension for the protection of women and girls, demonstrated dramatically by the systematic rape of hundreds of females in the Congo this summer and the abject failure of UN peacekeepers to protect them.
Other items of unfinished business include:
·       A wider range of targeted sanctions with maximum impact on a rogue regime. More creative thought is needed to develop population-friendly, regime-punishing, pressure-producing, readily enforceable and truly effective sanctions.
·       Trained mediators for early deployment to ensure that violence doesn’t spiral into mass atrocity. Kofi Annan’s intervention in Kenya is a textbook example of R2P at work, preventing the post-election violence from becoming an all-out ethnic bloodbath. Our capacity for such activist diplomacy must be built up. 
·       A standing rapid-response force with specialized training and equipment, so that protection is only a few hours away when the Security Council authorizes protection. The current practice of cobbling a force together from many contributing countries takes months and produces an uncoordinated team with uneven preparation. 
Above all, R2P needs a champion, a role that Canada once played. If we win election to the Security Council next month, our country should rediscover this important cause. (…)
By advocating R2P in appropriate cases and fashioning tools to make it effective, Canada can ensure that humanity makes the most of this historic breakthrough.
2. Should we stop the Next genocide?
Carnegie Council
Erik Schechter
19 August 2010
Erik Schechter is a freelance security affairs writer and former correspondent for both The Jerusalem Post and Jerusalem Report.
(…) clash between legality and morality is what galvanized the ill-starred Responsibility to Protect (R2P) movement, which argued that the international community has the responsibility to stop genocides—even if doing so means attacking a sovereign state. The R2P-backed 2001 Report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty even says that, if the UN obstructs anti-genocide efforts, "concerned states may not rule out other means to meet the gravity and urgency of that situation—and that the stature and credibility of the United Nations may suffer thereby."
However, repeated attempts in 2004-2005 to get the UN to ground Responsibility to Protect in law led to a watered-down, multilateral version of humanitarian intervention that differed little from previous understandings of Security Council power. So, for example, the 2005 World Summit Outcome document states "we are prepared to take collective action, in a timely and decisive manner, through the Security Council, in accordance with the Charter, including Chapter VII, on a case-by-case basis …"
R2P efforts notwithstanding, Byers thinks that the ban on humanitarian intervention should stand lest this new exception to the rule be misused. If a country is truly incensed by international inaction on genocide, let it do what must be done. The intervention would still be illegal, but if carried out for the right reasons, the "act will be forgiven." (...)
3. Stanley Foundation Courier—Is human protection a priority?
The Stanley Foundation fall 2010 Courier issue reflects on the protection of civilians through four different articles and perspectives.
Genocide and Mass Atrocities Must Be Strategically Addressed, By Keith Porter
(…) Prevention can be advanced by full implementation of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P)that includes promoting the acceptance of states’ sovereign responsibilities to ensure basic human protection, improving international efforts to help states meet those responsibilities, and ensuring an effective multilateral response when states prove unwilling to honor them. Pre-crisis atrocity prevention efforts can also be improved by promoting greater international coordination in mobilizing mechanisms for Peacebuilding (…)
(…) A sad truth is that countries emerging from conflict and ethnic division are also among the most likely to slip back into war and potential genocide. This reality was acknowledged by the United Nations five years ago when they created the Peacebuilding Commission to specifically work with post-conflict societies (…)
(…) The weakest states in the world, rather than the strongest, are the most at risk for violent conflict and spreading strife and instability (…)
Click here to read full article.
What’s an Ounce of Prevention Worth? By Rachel Gerber
On June 10, the international community found itself once again befuddled as political instability morphed into open, ethnically targeted violence in Kyrgyzstan (…)
(…) R2P provides a framework to prevent and halt mass atrocities by identifying the mutually reinforcing state and international responsibilities to protect civilian populations against genocide, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, and war crimes. These responsibilities include not only the obligation of the state to protect its population but also an international commitment to assist states to fulfill this responsibility, and a promise to respond when a state fails to do so (…)
(…) The only element of the R2P framework that has attracted less attention in terms of implementation than immediate protection assistance is its promise to help states prevent mass atrocity crimes “before crises and conflicts break out.”
The responsibilities inscribed in the R2P framework are preventive, not simply responsive. The doctrine supports a spectrum of engagement that provides the international community tools to address the potential for mass atrocities well before slaughter begins. These tools range from targeted development and protection assistance for those unable to protect their populations, to various means appropriate to confront those unwilling to do so (…)
(…) The capacity to protect civilian populations from genocide and other mass atrocities is much narrower than governance capacity writ large. It is also conceptually distinct: few would accuse Stalinist Russia of state weakness, while the Yugoslavia that hosted the Sarajevo Winter Games in 1984 could hardly be labeled a failing state in terms of broad governance capacity (…)
(…) It would be foolish to assume that all states cited for high civilian atrocity risk have simply been waiting for the international community to lend a helping hand. For many states, perpetration of mass atrocities reflects unwillingness, not inability, to protect civilian populations.
However, for every Sudan there is a Kyrgyzstan. The international community must begin to think seriously about its obligation to prevent genocide and other mass atrocities and provide such governments with the support they require, before bodies are in need of burial (…)
Read full issue to view the other two articles:
·       An Experiment in Building Peace: As the UN takes stock of five years of Peacebuilding, lessons are being learned in four African nations.
·       Halting the Slide Toward Failure: Journalists examine international interventions in four countries in crisis
 Thanks to Stephanie Perazzone for compiling this listserv

Browse Documents by Region:

International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect
c/o World Federalist Movement - Institute for Global Policy
708 Third Avenue, Suite 1715, New York, NY 10017