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Ministerial Roundtable Discussion on Responsibility to Protect: Responding to Imminent Threats of Mass Atrocities  

Joint Statement from the Governments of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Republic of Guatemala 
In association with the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect 
Friday, 23 September 2011
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, H.E. Dr. U. Rosenthal, and the Minister of 
Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Guatemala, H.E. Mr. Haroldo Rodas Melgar, in association with the Global 
Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, co-hosted a ministerial meeting on Responsibility to Protect: 
Responding to Imminent Threats of Mass Atrocities today. The meeting was attended by senior representatives 
of governments, including 14 Ministers. The Secretary-General of the United Nations, H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, 
also participated in the meeting.  
The principle of the Responsibility to Protect has come a long way since 2005. The commitment to protect 
populations from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing has now become an 
operational reality.  The advocacy of ministers from all regions of the world has been vital in shifting the debate 
on Responsibility to Protect from a question of principle to a more precise application. At this morning’s 
meeting a cross-regional group of ministers, as well as Secretary-General H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, shared ideas 
and discussed effective international responses to protect populations under imminent threat of mass atrocities.  
This morning’s meeting discussed the full range of preventive, mediated and coercive policy instruments that 
can be deployed in addressing these risk situations. Difficult lessons from various country situations were 
discussed and debated in a constructive way. The co-hosts remain committed to the principle of the 
Responsibility to Protect as an effective mechanism for responding to the urgent needs of peoples and societies 
at grave risk of mass atrocity crimes. They look forward to the annual informal interactive dialogue on 
Responsibility to Protect in the 66th session of the General Assembly.  

Read the statement.



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