08 November 2010
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1. New York Times –Guinea Votes in Its First Democratic Presidential Election
2. Spokesperson of the Secretary-General-Statement by the SG on Guinea Elections
3. The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect – Open Statement on the Situation in Guinea
4. International Crisis Group – Open Letter to Guinea’s presidential Candidates
5. France 24 - Ethnic clashes cast further doubt on delayed Guinea poll
1. UN Security Council - Statement by the President of the Security Council
2. Global Action to Prevent War and partners publish new book - Promoting Women’s Participation in Conflict and Post-Conflict Societies.
1. Human Rights Watch - EU: Act on UN Inquiry into international crimes in Burma
2. Human Rights Watch – Burma: Restrictions Tighten Ahead of November 7 Elections
3. The Enough Project - Responsibility to protect? Hardships in the wake of the UN’s Darfur visit
1. The Stanley Foundation - Atrocity Prevention and US National Security: Implementing the Responsibility to Protect
1.Romeo Dallaire and Hugh Segal, Global Brief - The Teeth to Defeat Genocide
2. Madalina Elena Ann, The Journal of Humanitarian Assistance - New Humanitarianism with Old Problems: the Forgotten Lesson of Rwanda
3. Omar Halim, the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies - The Responsibility to Protect – A Way Forward
Guinea has been under military rule since December 2008, when Captain Moussa Dadis Camara took power in a military coup. Camara promised to hold office temporarily while he paved the way for democratic elections and a civilian government. Instead, Camara established an autocratic government, suspended the Constitution and forbade union activity.Despite harsh criticism from regional and international actors, the situation worsened in September 2009 when the military opened fire on civilians in a stadium where they had gathered for a peaceful political rally. They reportedly killed up to 150 people and wounded over 1,400, and accounts of widespread sexual violence were recorded. In December 2009, the UN Commission of Inquiry in Guinea concluded that crimes against humanity were committed by government armed forces against unarmed civilians.
On 15 January 2010, the Joint Declaration of Ouagadougou was signed between Vice-president and Defense minister Sekouba Konate, Captain Camara and Blaise Compaore, President of Burkina Faso. The Ouagadougou Declaration established a national unity government led by a Prime Minister chosen by the opposition as well as elections to be held six months later, on 27 June 2010. The first round took place peacefully with two remaining candidates competing for the run off: Alpha Conde, long-time opposition leader, won 18% of the vote and his opponent Cellou Dalein Diallo, former prime minister 2004-2006, won 44% of the vote. Both candidates respectively represent the two major ethnic groups in Guinea, the Peul and the Malinke. The second round, while supposed to take place on 18 July, was first postponed for technical difficulties. Since then, the run off has been delayed and rescheduled three times, the latest date being 7 November 2010.
Meanwhile, tensions along ethnic lines pitting the Peul against the Malinke have been rising in Conakry and other cities in the country. Particularly worrying were the sporadic episodes of violence that occurred during the last two weeks of October. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross in Guinea, 2,800 people were displaced on October 29- 30 alone. International Crisis Group expressed acute concern over an imminent return to violence in Guinea if international, regional and local leaders do not mobilize to prevent such violence in the lead up to 7 November election and its aftermath. As made clear in the statement by the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, it is now critical for the Guinean government, and if needed the international community, to ensure that such violence is prevented from reocurring. While it was reported Monday 8 November that the elections unfolded peacefully, lingering tensions could still grow stronger and lead to renewed violence if results aren’t disclosed quickly or if the loser does not accept the results.
1. Guinea Votes in Its First Democratic Presidential Election
The New York Times
8 November 2010
(…) Sunday’s vote unfolded calmly as citizens lined up outside schools and other polling places, waiting to cast ballots in a runoff election originally scheduled for last summer. Since then, disputes over the leadership of the electoral commission and fighting between rival ethnic groups allied with each of the two candidates have led to repeated postponements.
But apart from the late arrival of voting materials — ink and ballots — at polling places in this nation of about 10 million people, international observers said they noted few hitches on Sunday (…)
(…) Elections were organized by the officer’s successor, Gen. Sékouba Konaté, who had become the transitional president and declared his willingness to hand over power.
But the initial optimism of late June, when the country held a peaceful primary vote after more than five decades of dictatorship, dampened as political rivalry split along ethnic lines (…)
(…) Late in October, security forces used live ammunition during a demonstration; one man was killed. In the north, hundreds of Peuls fled their homes in majority-Malinké villages to escape the ethnic violence.
Elsewhere, voter after voter expressed the simple hope that the election, however it turned out, would simply bring peace. Results are expected by the middle of next week (…)
Read full story
2. Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon
Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for Secretary General on Guinea
3 November 2010
The full statement reads as follows:
The Secretary-General welcomes the consensus reached among Guinean stakeholders that paves the way for the holding of the run-off presidential election on 7 November 2010. He urges all actors in the electoral process to ensure that the date is respected and that the necessary conditions are put in place for the smooth conduct of the poll. The Secretary-General calls upon the presidential candidates to uphold their commitment to conduct a peaceful campaign and to respect the outcome of the election. He encourages all Guineans to participate in the poll.
The Secretary-General remains concerned over recent episodes of violence and reported intimidation that led to the displacement of people in parts of Guinea. He calls on national and local leaders, as well as on the population as a whole, to refrain from any act or statement that may incite violence or human rights abuses. The Secretary-General further warns against exploiting ethnicity, religion or any other divisive factor for political ends and reiterates that those responsible for fomenting violence or violating human rights must be held accountable. The Transitional Government of Guinea has a responsibility to protect and ensure the safety of all Guineans, regardless of their ethnicity, religion or political affiliation.
The Secretary-General reaffirms the readiness of the United Nations system to support Guinea throughout this historic electoral process, as well as after the vote, to help consolidate peace and development in the country.
Click here to read the French version
3. Open Statement on the Situation in Guinea
The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
4 November 2010
The situation in Guinea requires international action if mass atrocities are to be prevented and world leaders’ 2005 acceptance of their responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity is to be upheld (…)
(…) While Guinean political, religious and community leaders have made commendable efforts to urge calm and stress national unity amongst Guinea’s various ethnic groups, the situation remains potentially explosive. There is a real risk that supporters of the two presidential candidates will contest the election results if their candidate does not win, leading to violence between ethnic groups that could escalate to the level of mass atrocities.
The security forces have a history of using excessive force, including during the September 2009 atrocities that a UN Commission of Inquiry concluded amounted to crimes against humanity. The
International Criminal Court (ICC) has opened a preliminary inquiry into the events and the government’s response (…)
(…) The transitional government bears the primary responsibility to protect its population. Over the long term, current efforts to undertake security sector reform must be advanced. But in the immediate term, the government must ensure that the security forces exercise restraint, abide by international law and standards on the use of force, and protect all Guineans irrespective of their ethnic identity (…)
(…) The international community has, in keeping with the responsibility to protect, been working with the transitional government since the 28 September 2009 commission of crimes against humanity to deter future mass atrocities and manage a smooth transition in governance. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has been leading efforts supported by the International Contact Group on Guinea (ICG-G), the African Union (AU) and the UN (…)
(…) Yet the coming weeks and months will be a critical test of the success of these measures. It remains vital that the efforts of Guinea’s leaders to deter and dissuade potential perpetrators of mass atrocity crimes are reinforced by coordinated international action. This requires the UN Secretary-General, Security Council, ECOWAS, African Union, and individual member states to warn that those that incite or commit mass atrocity crimes will be held accountable by domestic authorities, or should they fail to do so, by the ICC (…)
(…) While the responsibility to protect places a special emphasis on prevention, in unanimously adopting the responsibility to protect, member states have accepted a responsibility to take action to protect and save lives should preventive efforts fail (…)
Read full statement
4. Open Letter to Guinea’s presidential Candidates
International Crisis Group
5 November 2010
The International Crisis Group closely watched the first round of the presidential elections and was greatly relieved by its peaceful outcome given the relatively short period in which the elections were organised. However, the 23 and 24 October ethnic clashes in Conakry and attacks against defenceless civilians that resulted in one death and the destruction of properties are worrying and could constitute a liability to the entire transition process.
In that regard, the International Crisis Group is calling on both presidential candidates to refrain from fanning ethnic flames and from any form of violent actions that could undermine the transition and the fragile stability of the country. We particularly call on the candidates to desist from mobilising their supporters with a maximalist all-or-nothing approach and to fully honour the peaceful elections pact signed in Ouagadougou on 3 September 2010. The International Crisis Group would like to take this opportunity to remind both Cellou Dalein Diallo and Alpha Condé that they are responsible for the messages they pass to their supporters (…)
(…) Also, it is in the national interest for the army to continue to remain neutral in the electoral process. Any attempt to use national security as an argument to interfere in the electoral process and undermine the transition must be resisted by the international community and may be met with sanctions.
It is therefore imperative for the international community, and particularly for the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) special mediator, the International Contact Group on Guinea and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, to continue to build upon the positive and encouraging trend of the first round of polls by working with the Guinean leadership and the presidential candidates to ensure that the 7 November elections are violence-free (…)
Read full letter
5. Ethnic clashes cast further doubt on delayed Guinea poll
29 October 2010
Thousands of Guineans from the Peul ethnic group have been forced to flee their homes in ethnic clashes ahead of the country's upcoming presidential election, officials said, overshadowing a looming poll in a country that has never succeeded in freely electing its leader (…)
(…) Over the weekend, at least 1,800 people from the Peul ethnic group poured into the towns south of Kankan including Dinguiraye and Dabola, located approximately 300 miles (500 kilometers) north of the capital, said Alexandre Gashangi, who heads the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Conakry.
Dinguiraye mayor Kouro Sow said by telephone that families came on the backs of motorcycles, in buses and on foot. Some bore machete wounds. Many had feet so torn up from walking that they needed medical attention, she said (…)
(…) Guinea has never had an election deemed free and fair since winning independence in 1958. The former French colony appeared to have turned a corner earlier this year when the military junta ruling the country agreed to hand over power to civilians in elections this summer.
The vote has instead devolved into a contest between the country's top two ethnic groups, with the Peul unanimously backing Diallo while the Malinke support Conde (…)
(…) The upcoming vote has been canceled and rescheduled multiple times, and is now scheduled for Nov. 7. Also on Thursday, a trip to the affected towns by the country's dueling presidential candidates which was intended to show a united front in condemning the violence was abruptly canceled Thursday after Malinke politician Alpha Conde pulled out (…)
Read full story
On 26 October 2010, the UN Security Council convened an open debate on women, peace and security to commemorate the 10th anniversary of its milestone Resolution 1325, which aims to reinforce protection mechanisms of women and girls in times of conflict as well as to promote their participation in conflict resolution and prevention activities. More than 90 speakers took part in this year’s debate, assessing and discussing the implementation of Resolution 1325 and its shortcomings.
Among them, both UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and new UN Women Executive Director and Under-Secretary-General Michelle Bachelet took the floor and delivered statements. In the wake of the mass rapes in DRC in July and August 2010, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon insisted on the importance of holding perpetrators to account and “prevent[ing] brutality against women and girls”. In addition, he invited the Security Council to adopt the comprehensive 26 indicators proposed in his 28 September 2010 Report that would permit effective monitoring of the implementation of Resolution 1325. In her statement, Michelle Bachelet congratulated the Security Council for it’s engagement in implementing Resolution 1325 and outlined UN Women priorities as a supportive and dedicated UN body to “improve the protection environment for women during and after conflict”.
At the end of the open debate, the Council adopted a Presidential Statement that noted with “grave concern” the on-going violence targeting women and girls, especially sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict situations. The statement also denounced the slow implementation of Resolution 1325 despite women’s critical input in conflict resolution and prevention within their communities. During the debate, civil society organizations insisted on the need for action and the lack of political will devoted to women’s rights. Furthermore, all parties to the debate, governments and civil society members alike, discussed the Secretariat’s indicators and agreed upon using them to significantly improve implementation of Resolution 1325.
Many civil society events were held in parallel to the debate at the UN, including, a Peace Fair “Commemorating the 10th anniversary of united Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security” during which ICRtoP member Global Action to Prevent War launched its latest publication entitled “Promoting Women’s Participation in Conflict and Post-Conflict Societies” on 26 October. (see below for more details)
1. Statement by the President of the Security Council
UN Security Council
26 October 2010
(…) “The Security Council reiterates its strong condemnation of all violations of applicable international law committed against women and girls in situations of armed conflict and post-conflict situations, including rape, other forms of sexual and gender-based violence and killing and maiming that contravene international law” (…)
(…) “The Security Council recognizes the continued challenges and welcomes the many efforts to implement resolution 1325 (2000) detailed in the Secretary-General’s report, in particular positive examples of efforts to engage with women’s civil society groups in conflict resolution and peacebuilding, and to protect women and girls from sexual and gender-based violence.” (…)
(…) “The Security Council welcomes the efforts of Member States to implement its resolution 1325 (2000) at the national level, including the increase in the number of States that have formulated or revised national action plans and strategies, and encourages Member States to continue to pursue such implementation.”(…)
(…) “The Security Council encourages Member States to deploy greater numbers of female military and police personnel to United Nations peacekeeping operations, and to provide all military and police personnel with adequate training to carry out their responsibilities. The Council requests the Secretary General to continue and strengthen efforts to implement the policy of zero tolerance on sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations peacekeeping and humanitarian personnel “ (…)
(…) “The Security Council reiterates its request to Member States, international, regional and subregional organizations to take measures to increase the participation of women in conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peacebuilding, including in decision-making roles in post-conflict governance institutions, appointed and elected. The Council urges the Secretary- General to appoint more women as mediators and special representatives and envoys to pursue good offices on his behalf” (…)
Read full statement
2. Promoting Women’s Participation in Conflict and Post-Conflict Societies. How Women Worldwide are Making and Building Peace.
Global Action to Prevent War, NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
This volume, the second in a projected three-part series, represents a large and growing global community’s determination and passion for promoting women’s full involvement in peace policies and processes. The three organizations that produced this volume – the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and Global Action to Prevent War – join with other members of the Working Group and trailblazers worldwide to demand that women must be fully represented in all relevant policy decisions and practices across the peace process. With generous support from Open Society Institute, this volume attests to the fact that while peace remains a daunting challenge for the international community, it is a challenge that we will never address successfully as long as we continue to marginalize the talents, insights and passions of women working to keep or rebuild the peace in diverse communities across the globe (…)
(…) This report highlights compelling case studies depicting stories of courage and frustration, of skill and conviction. Stories that do not have nearly the prominence they deserve as peace and security policies are being negotiated. Stories with life-changing implications that have yet to reach their proper level of policy impact on the practice of peace in diverse global regions.
It is widely recognized that women bear a heavy burden in conﬂict and post conﬂict societies, both directly through violence perpetrated against themselves and their families and as survivors attempting to reconstruct destroyed communities. There is also growing recognition of women as ‘agents of change’ skillfully reshaping and rebuilding communities affected by conﬂict. As this report attests, women worldwide – as government representatives, activists, leaders of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and women’s networks and other concerned citizens -- have persevered through threats and conditions of violence to initiate transformative processes within conﬂict and post conﬂict societies (…)
(…) The objective of this report is to explore community-based initiatives undertaken by women’s organizations and civil society seeking to promote women’s participation in peace processes. By communicating directly with women and organizations in the ﬁeld, we have been able to highlight experiences and insights through the perspectives of the women participants themselves. The resulting narrative can assist in closing policy gaps in part by identifying, documenting and sharing organizational activity directed at implementing Security Council Resolution (SCR) 1325.
The report focuses on women’s participation in two key components of the peace process: peacemaking and early post-conﬂict peacebuilding (…)
(…) This report makes clear that women continue to face signiﬁcant barriers to full participation: a lack of inclusive leadership, gaps between government policy and action, a fragmentation of networks and messaging, a lack of resources and educational opportunities,
and consuming familial obligations. However, from ‘spitting sessions’ to ‘local to local’ dialogues, women are formulating and sharing creative initiatives that can be used by other women worldwide seeking to overcome barriers to participation (…)
(…) At the end of this report is a detailed set of recommendations that we believe will enhance prospects for women’s participation in all aspects of peace processes. Key recommendations include:
· Establish clear mandates within peace negotiations to include consultations with women’s rights organizations and women leaders
· Provide technical and content related training and support for civil society groups on how to effectively engage within peace processes and enhance technical and content- related expertise
· Establish networks, forums and summits enabling women to formulate a common agenda and overcome ethnic, political and social divisions
· Mandate increased women’s representation in leadership and decision-making positions
· Improve educational opportunities for women and provide training in capacity building to increase the pool of women available to participate in the political sphere
· Increase ﬁnancial and technical assistance to women’s organizations at the local level to promote greater organizational participation in security areas such as security sector reform (SSR), disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR), peacekeeping, and mall Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) control and disarmament
· Support the documentation and prosecution of women’s rights violations, especially gender based violence.
Read full PDF version
1. EU: Act on UN Inquiry into international crimes in Burma
Human Rights Watch
18 October 2010
Governments concerned about war crimes and crimes against humanity in Burma should move beyond mere condemnation and establish a United Nations commission of inquiry as follow-up to a UN expert's report on Burma released today, Human Rights Watch said today. In a letter to European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton released today, Human Rights Watch called for Ashton and the EU to back the report of the UN special rapporteur on Burma, Thomas Quintana, and show leadership in support of a commission of inquiry (…)
(…) Burma's security forces have committed deliberate attacks on civilians, summary executions, sexual violence, torture, use of child soldiers, attacks on populations' food supplies, forced displacement of populations, and use of anti-personnel landmines. Ethnic minority armed groups have been responsible for summary executions, used child soldiers, and deployed anti-personnel landmines. These abuses have gone unpunished for decades.
In his latest report released on October 18, Quintana expanded and strengthened his call for a commission of inquiry. His report states: "If the Government fails to assume this responsibility [to investigate international crimes], then the responsibility falls to the international community... [T]he United Nations can establish a commission of inquiry into crimes against humanity through resolutions adopted by the Human Rights Council, the General Assembly or the Security Council, or the Secretary-General could establish it on his own initiative. Justice and accountability are the very foundation of the United Nations system rooted in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which calls for an international order in which the rights and freedoms set out in the Declaration can be fully realized. Failing to act on accountability in Myanmar will embolden the perpetrators of international crimes and further postpone long-overdue justice." (…)
2. Burma: Restrictions Tighten Ahead of November 7 Elections
Human Rights Watch
3 November 2010
The Burmese military government is increasing intimidation ahead of scheduled November 7, 2010 elections that are intended to ensure continued military rule with a civilian façade, Human Rights Watch said today in a comprehensive Q&A released today (…)
(…) The human rights situation throughout Burma has worsened as the elections grow closer, with growing reports of voting irregularities and inducements to vote for the military-backed parties. The ruling State Peace and Development Council tightened restrictions on foreign media, rejected all offers of international observers, and maintained tight controls on the freedoms of expression, assembly, and association (…)
(…) Under the 2008 Constitution, all three parliamentary structures will have a significant number of seats reserved for serving military officers. Only two parties will field candidates for almost every seat that is open to contest: the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and the pro-military former Burmese socialist party, the National Unity Party (NUP) (…)
(…) Earlier this year, the USDP absorbed the financial assets, extensive infrastructure, and much of the membership lists - containing approximately 18 million people - of the military-created-and-controlled Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA), formed in 1993. The USDA and its paramilitary wings have long been implicated in violent attacks against the opposition, and for the past few years have taken credit for local development projects in preparation for the elections. Local communities and small parties have reported a rise in intimidation and inducements by USDP party members, often aligned to local security forces, as the election approaches (…)
(…) The Q&A also addresses the international community's response to the elections, and what governments should do to promote real change in Burma. Widespread international criticism of the unfair electoral process has not resulted in any concessions by Burma's military government. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called the lack of progress "frustrating," and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the elections "deeply flawed." Indian and Chinese officials have expressed support for Burma's electoral process.
In the Q&A, Human Rights Watch urges concerned governments to take various steps, including calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners, and pressing the new government to respect human rights and commit to an inclusive political process. In addition, governments should press for increased access by humanitarian agencies and the media, and the removal of excessive restrictions on Burmese civil society and development groups (…)
3. Responsibility to protect? Hardships in the wake of the UN’s Darfur visit
The Enough Project
20 October 2010
Immediately following the U.N. Security Council’s recent two-day visit to Sudan’s western region of Darfur, sources on the ground reported that Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services, or NISS, was pursuing a number of people who had met with the Council. The drama that transpired as a result of the U.N.’s high-level visit prompts important questions about how to raise awareness without putting individuals in danger in a volatile place like Darfur.
As part of its visit to El Fasher (the capital of North Darfur), the Council met with groups of internally displaced people, or IDPs, to discuss a range of issues including ongoing insecurity, humanitarian conditions, lack of access to justice, and abuses by NISS. According to reports, shortly after the Council’s departure, NISS began searching Abu Shouk and Al Salaam IDP camps for 16 people who had spoken to the Council (…)
(…) As part of its visit to El Fasher (the capital of North Darfur), the Council met with groups of internally displaced people, or IDPs, to discuss a range of issues including ongoing insecurity, humanitarian conditions, lack of access to justice, and abuses by NISS. According to reports, shortly after the Council’s departure, NISS began searching Abu Shouk and Al Salaam IDP camps for 16 people who had spoken to the Council (…)
(…) Regardless of whether or not the Council should have taken steps to ensure that their sources were protected, it seems fair to say that the Council’s lack of response to the incident is unacceptable. Since returning to New York, the Council has failed to make any public statement condemning the actions of NISS and requesting the release of the prisoners. While a statement alone is likely to yield few results, not issuing a condemnation reverses all the good that might have come from such a trip by signaling to the government that the Council’s promises to work harder to protect civilians in the region – a cornerstone of the peacekeeping mission’s mandate – are hollow (…)
The 51ST Strategy for Peace Conference organized in Washington DC on October 14-16, 2010 convened 25 NGOs and other non-profit groups to discuss the US Government strategy relating to genocide prevention and mass atrocities.
1. Atrocity Prevention and US National Security: Implementing the Responsibility to Protect
The Stanley Foundation
20 October 2010
The Obama administration’s inclusion of genocide prevention and explicit reference to the responsibility to protect framework within its recently issued National Security Strategy (NSS) builds on numerous institutional developments within the US government (USG) that recognizes the threat of mass atrocities to US national security and seeks to enhance US capacities for both prevention and response. These strategic elaborations and structural adjustments have been made in parallel with similar developments at the United Nations.
As part of its 51st annual Strategy for Peace Conference, the Stanley Foundation convened some 25 governmental and nongovernmental officials near Washington, DC, on October 14–16, 2010, to discuss ongoing efforts to elaborate the USG’s strategic approach to genocide and mass atrocities, explore next steps for effective institutional development, and encourage strategic dialogue between key USG institutions and its multilateral partners at the United Nations. Participants included USG and UN officials, diplomats, civil society representatives, and mass atrocity specialists.
Participants identified the following action points to further the atrocity prevention agenda:
· Enhance USG communication and coordination with the UN system and increase support
for UN institutional developments such as the anticipated joint office on genocide
prevention and R2P (…)
· (…) Strengthen analytical tools and better integrate the intelligence and development
communities into mass atrocity prevention and planning (…)
· (…) Create stronger links between the government, NGO, and corporate communities in order to maximize the contributions of each (…)
National and Multilateral Strategic Frameworks
· Reference to atrocity prevention and the responsibility to protect in the US National Security Strategy was widely considered to be a rhetorical and strategic victory, promoting norm diffusion and providing a fundamental foundation for ultimate policy development and implementation (…)
· At the multilateral level, the policy framework provided by the Responsibility to Protect doctrine, drawn within the broader parameters of preexisting international law, was considered largely sufficient, clearly identifying commitments and the mechanisms through which they can be advanced. Some specific conceptual and strategic gaps remain, particularly in terms of capacity-building and targeted development assistance (…)
USG Institutional Needs
· (…) Encouraging efforts are under way to address many of these institutional deficiencies, including the establishment of a National Security Council (NSC) focal point, as well as both an NSC-directed Interagency Planning Committee (IPC) and working group on mass atrocity issues (…)
Identifying and Developing Tools
· (…) There is potential added value from civil society in developing and mobilizing tools for atrocity prevention. NGOs are considered well placed to document conditions, provide comparative case analysis and best practice assessment, as well as to network with local populations and civil society to develop innovative upstream early warning mechanisms. Several government officials acknowledged they were largely unaware of ongoing NGO efforts, suggesting that information sharing should be increased and links explored with government processes.
Leveraging Multilateral Partnership
· (…) Though applauding USG efforts to address institutional gaps and develop an actionable policy framework, some participants emphasized the need to maintain a multilateral focus to avoid damage that would result from unilateral action. They suggested the US should do more to directly support institutional developments at the United Nations, such as the merger of the Office of the Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide with the Special Advisor on the Responsibility to Protect into a single joint office (…)
· (…) UN progress on R2P is an example of its central role in norm setting, and the United Nations is best placed to leverage legitimacy and constructively elevate the visibility of crises.
· One participant suggested that the USG and NATO were crucial to implementation of R2P’s “third pillar” capacity as they are two of few existing structures capable of coordinating a multilateral use of military assets, whether for coercive or non-coercive measures (…)
Read full policy memo
1. The Teeth to Defeat Genocide
Romeo Dallaire and Hugh Segal
13 October 2010
Changes in law, capabilities and posture – at home and internationally – will inform the new century’s responsible interventions (…)
(…) While the words “never again” rang out internationally after the discovery in 1945 of the extent of the crimes against humanity committed during the Holocaust, since that time, the world has witnessed further mass murder in East Pakistan (Bangladesh), East Timor, Cambodia, Guatemala, Bosnia, Rwanda, Zaire (the Democratic Republic of the Congo), Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe and in Sudan’s Darfur region. This is merely a sampling of modern cases in which violence was unleashed against civilians with genocidal intent on ethnic, religious or national grounds. According to the NGO Genocide Watch, there are 79 countries guilty of genocide and related crimes against humanity, killing hundreds, thousands or millions in order to eradicate a group or those simply deemed a problem because of their very existence (…)
(…) Yet, since 1945, history has shown that the domestic political will to act preventatively is lacking among individual political leaders. The sensitivities about one sovereign state interfering in the affairs of another sovereign state lead to the inevitable response of inaction when the worst occurs. It seems that it is deemed to be diplomatically odious for democratic nations to be proactive on this issue, as it offends the sensibilities of the cautious civil servants who are monitoring the affairs of foreign nations – civil servants who might well be the first to recognize the signs of impending genocide. Often, geopolitical interests, such as oil or regional stability, get in the way of firm prophylactic action before bodies are attacked like cordwood. Sometimes, however, the absence of natural resources or other strategic interests is a comfortable reason to look the other way, as appeared to be the case during the Rwandan genocide (…)
(…) NATO’s New Strategic Concept Committee has been chaired by former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. She is experienced and respected world-wide, and was an excellent choice to provide a balanced and fair report on the many security challenges that NATO must face in this new century. Albright is, as well, a passionate proponent of the prevention of genocide. In December 2008, she and former US Defense Secretary William S. Cohen, as co-chairs of the Genocide Prevention Task Force, released the report entitled Preventing Genocide: A Blueprint for US Policymakers (…)
(…) The problems that the international community faces in preventing future genocides are not insurmountable. However, they must first be identified. First and foremost, the requirement that authorization from the UN Security Council and consent from its permanent five (P5) members are necessary prior to taking any coercive action is a delay that has, and will continue, to cost lives. There is rarely agreement on action of any kind when the current mindset disallows action that is ‘perceived’ as violating state sovereignty. The ‘respect of sovereignty’ requirement has resulted in the UN seldom authorizing operations, even in such cases when a state is effectively killing its own civilians en masse. And, of course, it is self-evident that the requirement for consent is difficult to obtain and impedes possible peace operations when a government itself is complicit in the violence, or has an economic interest in looking the other way – as in the case of Sudan relative to oil, and the Chinese position in the country and on the P5 (…)
(…) The policy recommendations listed in the Albright-Cohen Report and Will to Intervene Report have brought structural changes to the US Departments of State and Defense, with senior officials of rank and reach now formally designated to be on genocide watch, linking defence, diplomacy and intelligence agencies and the White House. This is very much to President Obama’s credit in recognizing that preventing genocide is more than a humanitarian issue. It is also in the national interest of the US to do so, given the security and economic threats that mass atrocities generate (…)
(…) Legitimacy in international politics is about more than sterile definitions of sovereignty. It comes also by clearly indicating those events and actions that are explicitly not to be tolerated – ever! Moreover, those who preach genocidal options, or call for the eradication of UN member states, need to be targeted with intense, proactive international initiatives, sanctions, isolation and pressure, including the threat of military action, if others who stand by idly are not to be responsible for the insanity that transpires. Because when genocide is not confronted, insanity soon follows. And with the unthinkable come the knock-on effects from the commission of mass atrocities in distant lands, to which we are closely connected in a globalized world: pandemics, terrorism, piracy, organized crime, human trafficking, uncontrolled migration, diminished access to strategic raw materials, and the eventual erosion of social cohesion at home when expatriate or diaspora populations seek action that is not forthcoming from their own host governments. The transnational chaos that genocides produce renders it imperative that we put this item higher on our list of foreign policy priorities.
2. New Humanitarianism with Old Problems: the Forgotten Lesson of Rwanda
Madalina Elena Ann
The Journal of Humanitarian Assistance, Feinstein International Centre
4 October 2010
In early April 1994, following the assassination of the Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana, the deep and long-lasting animosities between the two main ethnic groups in Rwanda, the Hutus and the Tutsis, degenerated into genocide. The military, Hutu militia groups and ordinary people engaged in targeted, systematic killings of large numbers of Tutsis and political moderates irrespective of their ethnic backgrounds. In the course of only a hundred days, “several hundred thousand people … were gunned down, beaten to death, or literally hacked to pieces by machete, often after being raped, tortured, and forced to watch or participate in the execution of family members” (…)
(…) The present article attempts to outline some of the predicaments humanitarianism is facing in a changing world; as well as encourage a re-conceptualisation of humanitarianism, and of some of the indeterminate rules and ‘slippery’ concepts it is working with. To this end it will take Rwanda as a case study and will examine the possible reasons for non-intervention in the Rwandan events of 1994, by the international community. Rwanda was chosen as a case study, not only because of the author’s own interest in the region and the events of 1994, but also because much has been written on Rwanda and the deliberations engaged in by the relevant actors are more readily available for critical assessment (…)
(…) With humanitarianism facing near moral bankruptcy, the international community realised that reconceptualising humanitarianism, its principles and tools was imperative. The ‘re-branding’ of humanitarianism came in 2005 in the form of the concept of ‘new humanitarianism’; a new humanitarian order which was intended to be one more politically active, which would assign responsibility for the protection of vulnerable populations to ‘the international community’. The ‘new humanitarian’ paradigm authorises intervention, recognising the limits of sovereignty, especially in the case of weak and failing states and promoting the international norm of the ‘responsibility to protect’ (R2P). The R2P framework is based on the idea that sovereignty is not a privilege, but an international responsibility. Accordingly, if a state fails to fulfill its responsibilities to protect its people from harm, the international community has the responsibility to intervene, at first diplomatically, then more coercively, and as a last resort, with military force. Lacking however is a new enforcement mechanism which would ensure that these principles are acted upon (…)
3.The Responsibility to Protect – A Way Forward
Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies
This Insight investigates the origins and evolution of international intervention from the foundation of the United Nations in 1945 up to and beyond the inclusion of the Responsibility to Protect in the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document. It focuses on the role of United Nations peacekeeping forces and the internal and external bids and influences on their establishment. This Insight argues that the international community cannot stand by while mass atrocities occur but needs to recognise the reasons behind the reluctance to endorse the Responsibility to Protect in developing states. It evaluates under what conditions the Responsibility to Protect is able to operate and suggests ways forward (…)
A Way Forward
Under the present circumstances, there is no doubt that our globalised world cannot watch idly as events in Somalia; Darfur, Sudan; Myanmar or Zimbabwe unfold. It should be noted that there is a significant difference between Somalia on the one hand, and Myanmar, Zimbabwe, and perhaps Sudan on the other. In Somalia, there is no functioning government that is capable of controlling the whole country. The country is essentially carved into areas that are each controlled by various clans and sub-clans. The difference these days, compared to two decades ago, is the emergence of Islamist groups such as Al Shahab. Therefore, there is no institution in Somalia that can exercise authority throughout the whole country and is capable of protecting the whole population. Somalia is a failed state.
In Myanmar and Zimbabwe, on the other hand, the government is capable of exercising physical control over the whole country. The government is however antagonistic to certain groups within their own populations, for various reasons. In this case, the government is capable of protecting the sovereignty of the nation state vis-à-vis outsiders, yet there could be a significant number of its people who suffer or are made to suffer. The case of Darfur in Sudan is probably somewhere in between these two cases, where the government seems to be in control of significant amounts of its territory, but either undertakes or allows ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity to take place in its Darfur region (…)
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Thanks to Stephanie Perazzone for compiling this listserv