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15 September 2011
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1. Accounting for the African Union (AU) Response to Libya: A Missed Opportunity?
20-21 October 2011, Mt. Stephen Club, Montreal, Canada - The Role of the Media in Halting Mass Atrocities: A Conference to Mark the 10th Anniversary of the Responsibility to Protect
22-24 October 2011, Renaissance Hotel, Washington, D.C. - Genocide Intervention Network and Save Darfur Coalition: End Genocide Action Summit: Creating a Generation without Genocide’
26 October 2011, Hart House Debates Room, University of Toronto - Canadian Lawyers for International Human Rights Presents Michael Ignatieff
15 November 2011, Hong Kong Theatre, London School of Economics - State Violence and the Responsibility to Protect: The Role of the International Community

1. Accounting for the African Union (AU) Response to Libya: A Missed Opportunity?
ICRtoP Blog
13 September 2011

ICRtoP Steering Committee Members International Refugee Rights Initiative Co-Director Dismas Nkunda and East Africa Law Society CEO Tito Byenkya are featured in the blog post below discussing the response of the African Union to the crisis in Libya, the NATO mission and the National Transitional Council’s efforts in post-conflict Libya.
Going against the grain of international recognition of the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC), on August 26th the African Union (AU) refused to recognize it as the legitimate governing authority of the country. Instead, the African body has instead called for an “inclusive dialogue” with all parties to the conflict, despite the fact that 20 of its members have already recognized the NTC. This response marks a notable break among African states in the organization over how to best respond to rapidly unfolding developments in Libya.

South Africa has led those who oppose the UN-mandated, NATO-led operation, adopting an openly confrontational position. President Jacob Zuma made the statement that the AU would not support the Libya rebels, and his government also boycotted the recent Libya Contact Group meeting in Paris, refused to unfreeze assets for the NTC, and has criticized NATO for the way in which the Libyan operation was carried out, calling for an International Criminal Court probe into alleged human rights violations.

South Africa is joined by others who continue to support Gaddafi and the AU’s response, including Zimbabwe, which promptly expelled Libya’s ambassador to the country when he stated he supported the rebel movement. Kenya has also continued to support an inclusive dialogue between members of the NTC and the Gaddafi regime, and has denied recognition of the NTC. (…)

Looking for answers to these questions, we turned to some of our ICRtoP members on the African continent. Their responses were insightful, ranging from the lasting ties to Muammar Gaddafi to concerns over the nature and conduct of the Libyan operation. (…)

Gaddafi’s generosity, his pan-African vision, and history
As Dismas Nkunda, Co-Director of the International Refugee Initiative (IRRI) in Kampala, Uganda, and Steering Committee member of the ICRtoP, states, “Put simply, it’s about one person: Colonel Gaddafi.” And more simply still, the remaining support for Gaddafi is due to the fact that the ex-leader spread his country’s wealth across the continent:
The government of Libya had invested heavily in many African countries mainly in telecommunication, oil exploration, hotels, agriculture and infrastructure development in many countries; which means that there was no longer need to borrow from the World Bank or International Monetary Fund or indeed begging for loans from the big economic powers with the appendages that come with that.

Tito Byenkya, CEO of the East Africa Law Society in Arusha and also Steering Committee member of the ICRtoP, Tanzania, states that:

Gadaffi was one of the leading financiers of the AU, and a lot of the AU leaders would undoubtedly feel sympathy for him; and one would wonder why their clamour for democratic and pluralistic governance never saw the light of day whilst Gadaffi was still in absolute power in Libya.

But, as Nkunda notes, lingering support for Gaddafi may also extend beyond his invested riches to an affinity with his pan-African vision of solidarity and unity:

His vision for the United States of Africa, was indeed seen by many as the last attempt to rekindle the lost hope of Ghana’s first President Kwame Nkrumah in the quest for a united Africa. It is believed therefore that the west “feared” what a united Africa, with its own currency, vast natural resources, large population and having one common voice could mean for the rest of the world…What if United States of Africa demanded at their own terms?  At the behest of Gaddafi, Africa was about to have Africa Monetary Fund and Africa Central Bank. And his country had the resources to invest heavily in making these financial head way come to fruition.

Shunning AU initiatives, stepping over the boundaries of resolution 1973
(…) Byenkya of the East Africa Law Society says that the conduct of the NATO operation can further explain why both the AU and South Africa have taken the stance that they have:
 
The African Union, just as the Arab league, was in support of the UN Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973…Unfortunately, it appears that the UN Security Council, on which South Africa sits, did not expressly detail the mode of operation of Resolution 1973, leaving it to the members and other continental bodies to determine how to implement it.  NATO then figures that protection of civilians also includes bombing of Gadaffi’s military depots and communication infrastructure; while France resorts to arming the insurgents who have decided to fight all the way to Tripoli…A number of countries that initially supported the resolution, including South Africa, took issue with this mode of implementation of the Resolution, insisting that it was outside the parameters of the Resolution, and effectively constituted facilitating a regime change in Libya..
 
And according to Nkunda, the manner in which resolution 1973 was implemented may have consequences for the perceptions of RtoP held in capitals on the African continent, and, by association, its various regional bodies and the African Union:
 
Africa has had the strongest proponents of R2P. As evidenced in the article 4h (of the AU Constitutive Act), it was a mile stone step that if not tinged with world politics and personalities was bound to make R2P become very relevant. But now it will take more convincing since the opponents of the norm will question the wisdom of giving the west a free hand of choosing where, when and how to intervene in any UN member state with or without the consent of the others. (…)
What role for the AU in Libya moving forward?
 
The African Union has categorically rejected any criticism that it has failed to help bring an end to Libya’s civil war. It has expressed a willingness to work with the NTC moving forward, and, despite South Africa’s boycott of the Paris Contact Group meeting, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Jean Ping, participated.
 
Given this, what role should the regional body play moving forward in Libya?
 
Regarding the African Union, Byenkya states that it must come around on its position towards the NTC and secure a position in post-conflict Libya:
 
The AU should work with the NTC to meet the constitutional and legal reform targets that it has set, but also ensure that all those persons complicit in rights violations on either side of the political divide in Libya are brought to book.
 
But he also wrote that the AU has bigger challenges confronting it, as evidenced by the manner in which it has responded to Libya:
 
The AU, as a continental intergovernmental organizational, has all the organs and mechanisms to effectively deal with conflict across the region…However, the response time of these institutions to governance and resource based conflicts across Africa seems at best belated, and wrought with political and other considerations…The AU should also examine whether its current institutional framework is attuned to the emerging global mechanisms on timely prevention of or accountability for human rights violations; and if it is in the negative, make the necessary amendments so it is to be perceived as being relevant. (…)
Read this blog post and share your reactions and reflections to the post, or subscribe to the ICRtoP blog.

1. The Role of the Media in Halting Mass Atrocities: A Conference to Mark the 10th Anniversary of the Responsibility to Protect
Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS)
Mt. Stephen Club, Montreal, Canada.
20-21 October 2011
The Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS) will hold a conference addressing the fundamental need to sustain the relevance of R2P at the international level, so that mass atrocity crimes are prevented. In the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide, UN Secretary General Kofi Anan sought new ways to protect civilians from genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and ethnic cleansing. The conference will discuss how the expanding, more inclusionary media landscape, with the emergence of social media as a key platform for reporting on humanitarian crises, has changed the way in which the international community responds to genocide. This focus is particularly important given the profound transformations that are presently reshaping the media landscape - from shrinking budgets to dwindling foreign bureaus - as well as the rapid evolution in new technologies that are making mass atrocities in seemingly distant countries suddenly immediate and ever harder to ignore. The conference will engage with these issues through keynote addresses, panels, and discussions featuring journalists, academic experts, and senior politicians, chosen for their ability to offer new insights and ideas. The International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect is proud to serve as a promotion partner for the event.

Read about the speakers, view the agenda, watch the live webcast, and RSVP. Read more information.

1. End Genocide Action Summit: Creating a Generation without Genocide
Genocide Intervention Network and Save Darfur Coalition
Renaissance Hotel, 999 Ninth Street, NW – Washington, DC 20001
22-24 October 2011
For the past seven years people across the country – activists and artists, students and genocide survivors, faith leaders and policy experts – have been making things happen from their local communities to the halls of Congress and all the way to Sudan. We witnessed the power of activism when millions of people in the United States and around the world raised their voices together – in a historic mobilization – to demand an effective international response to the killings in Darfur.
 
Now, Genocide Intervention Network (along with their student-led division, STAND) and the Save Darfur Coalition have officially joined forces.  In October, hundreds of activists and experts will convene in Washington, D.C. around a common theme and purpose: creating a generation without genocide.
 
The event will include plenary and panel sessions on a variety of topics including ongoing struggle for justice and peace in Sudan, recent crises in Libya and Syria, the Responsibility to Protect, and more. Skill-building training sessions, workshops and an optional lobby day will also be part of the event. ICRtoP Senior Outreach Officer Marion Arnaud will be featured as a panelist during the Summit.
 
Read the agenda, view the list of additional speakers, or register for the summit, or find out more information.

2. Canadian Lawyers for International Human Rights Presents Michael Ignatieff
Canadian Lawyers for International Human Rights (CLAIHR)
Hart House Debates Room, University of Toronto, Canada
 
Michael Ignatieff is well known in Canada as being the former leader of the Liberal Party, however, he also played an integral role in the formulation of this doctrine. In 2001, Professor Ignatieff was a member of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS), which released its report on the Responsibility to Protect in 2001. The event will allow attendees to ask Professor Ignatieff questions about R2P and how Canada fits into the global landscape in R2P actions such as crisis in Libya, Syria or other conflict zones, now and into the future.
 
Professor Ignatieff will be speaking about this important doctrine, which governs the way the world responds to international crisis situations as an alternative and complement to the more traditional humanitarian military intervention model. The Responsibility to Protect doctrine is a Canadian idea, which asserts that if a government is unable or unwilling to protect its own people, or if a government is responsible for ethnic cleansing or massacres, than other countries should step in and help.
 

3. State Violence and the Responsibility to Protect: The Role of the International Community
London School of Economics
Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House, Aldwych, London, UK
15 November 2011
In September 2005, 191 Heads of State and Government, gathered at the United Nations General Assembly, formally undertook the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. This was a landmark agreement which was welcomed as a contribution to prevent future mass atrocities. This event will consider what was agreed upon in 2005, and examine its implementation at the international level, in particular, in crises such as that in Libya which appears to be a test case for R2P. The panel will also address present and future challenges to the evolving concept of R2P. 
Chaloka Beyani, Senior Lecturer in Law at LSE and UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons Speakers, and Ignacio Llanos, a Chilean diplomat in the Foreign Service, will speak on the panel.

Find more information.
 
 

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