13 June 2012
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I. ICRtoP Steering Committee Member, West Africa Civil Society Institute, holds regional pilot training on RtoP for civil society and multidimensional peace support personnel
1. West Africa Civil Society Institute –WACSI, KAIPTC and GIZ promote R2P norm among civil society actors and multidimensional peace support personnel in West Africa
2. Ghana News Agency –Training on RtoP for CSOs in West Africa ends in Accra
3. ICRtoP –Opening remarks delivered at the pilot training held at the WACSI Secretariat
1. Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect in collaboration with others –Conference Outcome Document: Regional Capacity to Protect, Prevent and Response, UN-Asia Pacific Strategy and Coordination.
2. Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation –AIPR Raphael Lemkin Seminar For Genocide Prevention: Global Government Edition
1. Economic Cooperation of West African States (ECOWAS) - Video: ECOWAS and Responsibility to Protect
2. Simon Adams, Embassy Magazine - Canada should appoint a ‘focal point’ for atrocity prevention
3. United States Institute of Peace - Peace Brief: Atrocity Prevention through Persuasion and Deterrence
4. Gareth Evans, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Yearbook 2012: Armaments, Disarmament and International Security, Summary –Responding to Atrocities: The New Geopolitics of Intervention
I. ICRtoP Steering Committee Member, West Africa Civil Society Institute, holds a regional pilot training on RtoP for civil society and multi-dimensional peace support personnel
Over forty civil society representatives from organizations based throughout the region and abroad, as well as officials from United Nations (UN) agencies, the Standby force of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the Ghanaian government, police, and military convened from 5-7 June for a pilot training on the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP,R2P). The training program was led by ICRtoP Ghana-based Steering Committee Member, the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) in collaboration with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), ICRtoP Ghana-based Member Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, and cooperation with the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect (ICRtoP). The pilot training will influence the final publication of a training toolkit for civil society actors and multidimensional peace support personnel in West Africa that WACSI developed with the support of the ICRtoP. As noted by WACSI in the organization’s 8 June press release, “this training, composed of seven sessions, introduced and deepened knowledge of civil society actors, military personnel, policy makers and diplomats on the development and practice of the R2P norm globally and established guiding frameworks for its domestication in West Africa. Specifically, it has been developed to facilitate the education and promotion of R2P in West Africa.”
The three-day training began with opening remarks delivered by Ms. Nana Afadzinu, Executive Director of WACSI, Dr. Thomas Jaye of KAIPTC, Justice Emile Short from the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, Mr. David Nii Addy of GIZ, and Ms. Megan Schmidt from ICRtoP. Speakers highlighted the importance of WACSI’s initiative to educate on RtoP and enhance the capacity of civil society and multidimensional peace support personal in the region, reflected on their organizations’ support for and work on the prevention of conflict and mass atrocities, and noted the importance of increased cooperation amongst actors at all levels in the implementation of RtoP. West Africa’s commitment to the Responsibility to Protect was also noted, as speakers highlighted ECOWAS initiatives, including the 2008 adoption of the Conflict Prevention Framework, as well as national action, such as the Ghanaian government’s leadership role in the RtoP focal points initiative, developed by the Global Centre for R2P in partnership with the governments of Denmark and Costa Rica.
The first day of the training session provided participants with an overview of the historical background that influenced the first articulation of RtoP in 2001 in the report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty. This was followed by a discussion on the norm itself and the role of actors at the international, regional and national levels in operationalizing RtoP. On the second day, participants focused on the particular role of African regional and sub-regional organizations in the prevention of mass atrocities, with a presentation specifically on the development and capacity of the ECOWAS Standby Force as well as on the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Architecture. In addition to emphasizing the crucial role of regional actors in the implementation of RtoP, training sessions focused on the importance of women’s inclusion within the full spectrum of the norm’s framework and the challenges that remain to engender RtoP. On the final day of the workshop, training participants focused on the recent crises in Côte d’Ivoire, Libya, and Kenya and the present risks to populations in Sudan, Mali and Guinea-Bissau. Participants focused on determining if case studies constituted ‘RtoP situations’, critically analyzing the response by actors at all levels, and reflecting on preventive measures that could have been implemented to protect populations at risk of mass atrocities. The training closed with dialogue focusing on participant perspectives on how to increase the capacity of civil society, governments, military and police, and regional organizations to prevent crimes under the norm’s framework and increase the understanding of RtoP. Participants agreed on the need to raise awareness of and educate on RtoP within the region amongst actors at all levels, and to further develop civil society work on the norm both nationally and regionally. Many civil society representatives highlighted the regional relevance of RtoP, reflecting on present and pass cases of atrocity crimes, and expressed their interest in using the training toolkit within the work of their organizations.
1. WACSI, KAIPTC and GIZ promote R2P norm among civil society actors and multidimensional peace support personnel in West Africa
West Africa Civil Society Institute
8 June 2012
Civil society actors and international peace support personnel from across West Africa committed three days; from June 5 – 7, 2012 to reflect on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) norm and the tactical avenues for its implementation in West Africa. This reflection platform was possible thanks to a pilot training on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) for civilian actors and multi-dimensional peace support personnel across West Africa.
This training which attracted the media, an outcome of years of research and deliberations between WACSI, the Koffi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), the German International Agency for Development (GIZ) and the International Coalition on the Responsibility to Protect (ICR2P) successfully ended on June 7, 2012 at the WACSI training Centre in Accra, Ghana. The training enabled participants to deepen their understanding on the R2P norm and critically reflect on the feasibility of implementing the norm as well as the actors involved in its implementation in the sub-region. It also created an opportunity for civil society to assess their role in promoting agendas related to the norm in West Africa. (…)
Representatives from the Ghana Police Superintendents Joseph Darison and Samuel Punobyin expressed their satisfaction for being invited to take part in this training. They lauded the initiative and pointed out that, “such initiatives should be promoted through various platforms, including the media to emphasise the essence for collaboration amongst stakeholders responsible to ensure peace in Ghana and the sub-region.” (…)
Ms. Barbara Bangura from GEMS Sierra Leone, stated that the training is quite timely. “It is relevant to Sierra Leone and Africa. I hope we will be able to come up with functional ways of making the norm visible and to implement it across the sub-region. It is vital for our communities and countries as this will contribute substantially to nation building”.
Addressing participants at the end of the three-day training, the Executive Director of WACSI, Ms. Nana Asantewa pointed out that intense deliberations on R2P have enabled participants to highlight the need for awareness raising, capacity building for civil society, military and West African Community on the norm. She emphatically stated that WACSI, an implementing partner of the pilot training and a regional capacity building Institute will inculcate recommendations by participants to enhance the training toolkit and will promote the norm by fostering capacity building, commencing with a Training of Trainers who will proceed to spearhead trainings across West Africa on the norm. (…)
Read the full press release.
2. Training on RtoP for CSOs in West Africa ends in Accra
Ghana News Agency
8 June 2012
A three-day pilot training on Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) for civil society actors and multi-dimensional peace support personnel in West Africa ended in Accra on Thursday.
The training was organized by West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) in collaboration with the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre.
It was supported by the German Agency for International Cooperation, International Coalition for Responsibility to Protect (ICRtoP) and Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).
Nana Asantewa Afadzinu, Executive Director of WACSI, in a closing remark, said the institute’s intervention was executed through training and capacity building, research and documentation and policy advocacy.
She said through these focus areas, WACSI aimed to address institutional and operational challenges, natural and enhanced civil society skills in policy influence, analysis and advocacy.
Nana Afadzinu said the institute was also to provide targeted capacity development opportunities, generate indigenous knowledge and information on civil society, serve as a regional convener and resource center for civil society organizations reflection and learning.
She said WACSI was also mandated to strengthen the institutional capacity of civil society organizations in West Africa, to enhance their efficiency, ensure their effective engagement at the policy level and promote their sustainability. (…)
Read the full article.
3. ICRtoP opening remarks delivered at the pilot training held at the WACSI Secretariat
International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect
5 June 2012
(…) It is not a surprise that such a significant initiative is occurring in West Africa. West Africa, more than any other region or sub-region, has shown its commitment to the Responsibility to Protect. ECOWAS previously created a Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) to protect civilians during conflicts in Liberia in 1990, Sierra Leone in 1997, and Guinea-Bissau in 1998. In 2008, ECOWAS adopted the Conflict Prevention Framework which identifies the organization’s obligations to protect human security through the prevention of, reaction to, and rebuilding after violent conflicts, humanitarian and natural disasters. (…)
(…) Efforts to prevent mass atrocities have been taken by actors at all levels in the region, and responses have been swift by ECOWAS, individual governments, and civil society to crises such the post-electoral crisis in Côte d’Ivoire and the present threat to populations in northern Mali. The government of Ghana in particular has been a driving force in strengthening national capacity to implement RtoP. Through its partnership with the government of Denmark and our colleagues at the Global Centre for R2P, Ghana has been crucial in the development of a national focal points initiative first launched in 2010 to increase the ability of state governments to prevent and respond to mass atrocities. (…)
(…) Today’s pilot training hosted here at WACSI’s secretariat office and the subsequent final toolkit which it will influence are important initiatives to increase understanding of the Responsibility to Protect and enhance the capacity of civil society and multi-dimensional peace support personnel in the region to prevent and swiftly respond to these most egregious crimes. The development of this curriculum and training program can also serve as a model for similar work throughout the world.
The ICRtoP Secretariat has had the pleasure of working with WACSI for several years as the organization is a founding steering committee member of the Coalition. We have worked closely with our colleagues here to educate on RtoP and strengthen civil society support for and work on the norm in West Africa. This partnership goes back several years when in 2008 we collaborated with WACSI and other partners, including the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and the Open Society Initiative of West Africa, to host a roundtable on RtoP focusing on the West African perspective. This event, which was part of a global series of roundtables on the norm, was influential in progressing civil society efforts to increase awareness and understanding of the Responsibility to Protect in West Africa as well as globally through the establishment of the ICRtoP in 2009.
(…) The ICRtoP has seven members, including WACSI and the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, that are based in West Africa. In addition to WACSI and the Kofi Annan Centre I would like to welcome my colleagues from ICRtoP’s member organizations that are present today, including the Centre for Media Studies and Peacebuilding, the West Africa Civil Society Forum, and the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding. (…)
See full statement.
1. Conference Outcome Document - Regional Capacity to Protect, Prevent and Response: UN-Asia Pacific Strategy and Coordination.
The Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, in cooperation with the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and in partnership with Chulalongkorn University
(…) The Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (APC R2P), in cooperation with the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and in partnership with Chulalongkorn University, organized a two-day conference on 17-18 May in Bangkok, Thailand. The meeting brought together some 80 international and local participants from various sectors across the globe to discuss and debate on the principle of R2P and its implementation.
This Conference Outcome Document provides the contextual highlights, focuses on the key debates, and suggests recommendations. (…)
Sections included in the Outcome Document include:
• Stocktaking on R2P;
• Pillar 3 and Sovereignty Issues;
• Responsibility while Protecting (RwP);
• Role of Regional Organizations in Promoting R2P; and
• Outcomes and recommendations.
Read the full Outcome Document.
Find out more information about the conference.
2. AIPR Raphael Lemkin Seminar for Genocide Prevention: Global Government Edition
Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation
27 May - 3 June 2012
The seminar outlined below was used for a training seminar on genocide prevention facilitated by the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR) as part of its Raphael Lemkin Seminar for Genocide Prevention. The seminar was held in Krakow, Poland from 27 May until 3 June.
Goals of the Seminar:
(1) To familiarize participants with the concept of genocide, its relation to the broader category of mass atrocity, and the processes by which genocide occurs.
(2) To empower participants with the practical competencies (knowledge and skills) necessary to develop the means to identify and deter the potential for genocide, limit genocide as it unfolds, and engage in the best practices of post-conflict peacebuilding that aim to prevent the future occurrence of mass atrocity in a post-conflict society.
(3) To reinforce the international security and human rights norm of the responsibility to protect, with clear recognition of the idea that sovereignty is not a privilege, but a responsibility.
(4) To strengthen capacity-building by creating a worldwide communication network of genocide-sensitive policymakers, shapers of political will, who will become agents of genocide and mass atrocity prevention with a heightened degree of awareness and sensitivity to the role of non-governmental actors in supporting their work in zones of conflict.
This seminar is grounded in the belief that preventing genocide is an achievable goal. That is, there are ways to recognize its signs and symptoms, and viable options to prevent it at every turn if we are committed and prepared. This seminar aims to provide a program for participants that, literally, could not be experienced anywhere else in the world. Buttressed by an international teaching team of scholars and activists, the seminar follows the “situated learning” model of education by being grounded in the “power of place” at Auschwitz, the most notorious of the Nazi extermination camps. (…) Each teaching module will include one central, essential article or book chapter (typically no longer than 30 pages) to be read by the participants prior to that particular module. Case studies and other active learning assignments will allow participants to engage firsthand with the learning resources and presentation material. The seminar will follow the Chatham House Rule in which participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed. (…)
Read the full seminar program.
Read more about AIPR training programs.
1. Video: ECOWAS and Responsibility to Protect
Economic Cooperation of West African States (ECOWAS)
8 June 2012
The Economic Cooperation of West African States (ECOWAS) has released a short video regarding the role of ECOWAS in implementing the Responsibility to Protect; steps they have taken to operationalize RtoP, capacity gaps and ways forward.
An ECOWAS Regional Policy Forum on the Responsibility to Protect was scheduled for 11 and 12 June 2012 during which participants were expected to critically examine existing ECOWAS policies and institutions to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.
Watch the video.
Learn more about ECOWAS.
2. Canada should appoint a ‘focal point’ for atrocity prevention
6 June 2012
Simon Adams, the Executive Director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, briefed the Canadian All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Prevention of Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity on the focal points initiative on 30 May 2012.
For those of us outside Canada and its parliamentary entanglements, the Responsibility to Protect is not seen as a Liberal, Conservative, or NDP concept.
We see it as an idea that is Canadian in origin, in keeping with the country's long tradition of supporting international human rights, peacekeeping, and in preventing mass atrocities. A Canadian government-funded commission developed R2P and Canada played a role in facilitating its adoption at the United Nations World Summit in 2005.
R2P's core idea is that all governments have an obligation to protect their population from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity. It is primarily a preventive doctrine. However, R2P also acknowledges that we live in an imperfect world and if a state is "manifestly failing" to meet its responsibilities, the international community is obliged to act. It is not a right to intervene but a responsibility to protect.
Support for R2P at the UN is now almost universal. (…)
The debate at the UN now is about how to implement R2P in specific cases, rather than whether such an international responsibility exists. (…)
Institutional capacity is also steadily developing, most visibly with the R2P "Focal Points" now being established within national governments and intergovernmental organizations.
This is an innovation that I urge Canada to undertake. This initiative recognizes that the international community needed to move from talking about R2P to taking concrete steps to implement it at the domestic level. The initiative asks that states appoint a senior official to co-ordinate national preventive and protective strategies. These officials will also collaborate through an international network of R2P focal points to enhance efforts to anticipate, prevent, and respond to mass atrocity crimes in the world. An R2P focal points organizing group has been formed by the Global Centre for R2P along with the governments of Denmark, Ghana, Costa Rica, and Australia.
Despite the initiative only being at an early stage, 13 governments from Africa, Australasia, Europe, Central and South America have already appointed a focal point. At least another 20 are in the process of assessing guidelines for appointment. (…)
In Canada, as elsewhere, atrocity prevention should remain a non-partisan issue.
Recent controversies regarding Libya, Syria and R2P have tended to focus upon the use of military force, but of course R2P is about much more than that.
We have to be fully conscious of the fact that misuse of R2P debases the concept. Clarity of purpose, proportionality, and precision remain essential. But the crucial element is to strengthen the politics of non-indifference.
For that to happen, we need Canada to continue to raise its voice. As a credible and respected "middle power," its influence is undeniable. But while Australia has appointed a high-level focal point and the United States has established an entire inter-agency atrocities prevention board, Canada appears to have abandoned the field.
The Responsibility to Protect is not just a concept to be discussed in the abstract. Right now there are people in Syria, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and elsewhere who are continuing to face the reality of mass atrocity crimes. Any response to their plight, diplomatic or otherwise, requires serious and sustained political will at the UN and beyond.
R2P should stand for the end of impunity, injustice, and inaction. Nothing more, and certainly nothing less.
Canada still has the credibility and capacity to make a difference in the world today. We need Canada in the fight to prevent and protect people from mass atrocity crimes, not watch from the sidelines.
Read the full article.
3. Peace Brief: Atrocity Prevention through Persuasion and Deterrence
United States Institute of Peace
5 June 2012
This Peace Brief describes the key findings and conclusions from a working session organized by USIP on 5 April 2012 with policymakers, scholars, and NGO leaders with a focus on conflict management and atrocity prevention. The brief serves as input for the U.N. Secretary-General's report ahead of the U.N. General Assembly's interactive dialogue this summer on response measures available under the third pillar of RtoP.
(…) Political missions can be described as multilateral teams of primarily civilian experts that rely largely on political persuasion to find a nonviolent way out of crises. Preventive deployments are defensive military missions primarily aimed at deterring state or non-state actors from initiating undesired actions. Both political missions and preventive deployments are traditionally seen as conflict management tools used by international or regional organizations.
In certain circumstances, political missions and preventive deployments could contribute to the prevention of mass atrocities by keeping potential perpetrators from implementing a mass atrocity policy and protecting vulnerable populations, through persuasion and deterrence.
The success of both tools depends in large part on the rare consent of a host government, manifestly failing to protect its population from a threat posed by non-state actors inside its territory, or hostile actors operating from neighboring countries. The utility of these missions is limited when the host regime is responsible for the atrocities in the target area. (…)
About 25 leading policymakers, scholars and nongovernmental organization (NGO) leaders participated in an input session organized by the U.S. Institute of Peace on April 5, 2012. The participants analyzed the utility of political missions and preventive deployments for atrocity prevention. This brief describes the key findings and conclusions from the working session, and serves as input for the U.N. secretary-general’s report in advance of the U.N. General Assembly’s interactive dialogue this summer on timely and decisive responses to prevent and halt genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity in accordance with the Responsibility to Protect principle.
Political missions and preventive deployments are traditionally seen as conflict management tools. Both instruments have received insufficient attention in assessments of the international toolbox available for atrocity prevention. However, both types of missions have operated amid actual and imminent atrocity situations, and have arguably mitigated the risk or impact of atrocities.
This brief analyzes the utility of preventive deployments and political missions for the prevention of mass atrocities or R2P crimes, specifically their role as an R2P Pillar III tool, in a context where atrocity crimes are imminent or ongoing, both in times of peace or violent conflict.
In his January 2009 report on the “Implementation of the Responsibility to Protect, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon posited that this responsibility contains three pillars: 1) the protection responsibilities of the state, 2) international assistance and capacity building; and 3) timely and decisive response to prevent and halt genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity. R2P’s third pillar includes pacific and coercive tools for collective action in the face of atrocities, and after local efforts or international capacity-building failed to prevent a crisis situation. Since tools are rarely applied in isolation, a separate study should analyze the complementarity of these instruments with alternative measures.
As mass atrocities often occur in the context of violent conflict, traditional conflict management tools indirectly contribute to the prevention of atrocity crimes. In certain circumstances, political missions and preventive deployments can directly prevent atrocities or mitigate their effect as a complement to other diplomatic, economic or military measures. Through persuasion and deterrence, political missions and preventive deployments could keep potential perpetrators from implementing a “mass atrocity policy” and protect vulnerable populations. As preventive deployments succeed, they may transform into a political mission, or both instruments may operate simultaneously in a complementary manner. (…)
Download the full report.
4. Responding to Atrocities: The New Geopolitics of Intervention
SIPRI Yearbook 2012: Armaments, Disarmament and International Security, Summary
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)
Our age has confronted no greater ethical, political and institutional challenge than ensuring the protection of civilians, as victims of both war and of mass atrocity crimes. Awareness of the problem of civilian protection is growing and has been accompanied by a much greater evident willingness—at least in principle—to do something about it. (…)
Two normative advances in this area are, first, the dramatically upgraded attention given since 1999 to the law and practice relating to the protection of civilians (POC) in armed conflict; and, second, the emergence in 2001, and far-reaching global embrace since 2005, of the concept of the responsibility to protect (R2P).
There is now more or less universal acceptance of the principles that state sovereignty is not a licence to kill but entails a responsibility not to do or allow grievous harm to one’s own people. The international community also bears a responsibility to assist those states that need and want help in meeting that obligation, and a responsibility to take timely and decisive collective action in accordance with the UN Charter. (…)
UN Security Council Resolution 1973, authorizing military intervention in Libya to halt what was seen as an imminent massacre, was a resounding demonstration of these principles at work, and seemed to set a new benchmark against which all future arguments for such intervention might be measured. However, the subsequent implementation of that mandate led to the reappearance of significant geopolitical divisions.
The Security Council’s paralysis over Syria during the course of 2011, culminating in the veto by Russia and China of a cautiously drafted condemnatory resolution, has raised the question, in relation to the sharp-end implementation of R2P, of whether Resolution 1973 would prove to be the high-water mark from which the tide will now retreat. (…)
The crucial question is whether the new geopolitics of intervention that appeared to have emerged with Resolution 1973 is in fact sustainable, or whether, as suggested by the subsequent response to the situation in Syria, a more familiar, and more cynical, geopolitics will in fact reassert itself.
This author takes the optimistic view that the new normative commitment to civilian protection is alive and well, and that, in the aftermath of the intervention in Libya, the world has been witnessing not so much a major setback for a new cooperative approach as the inevitable teething troubles associated with the evolution of any major new international norm. The Brazilian ‘responsibility while protecting’ initiative, focusing on clearer criteria for and more effective monitoring of the use of force, offers a constructive way forward. (…)
Read the full Yearbook Summary.
Thanks to Amelia Wolf for compiling this listserv.