Member Sign In
International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect
PDF Print E-mail
26 September 2012
Info: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Facebook: Join us
Twitter: Follow us
1. Luke Glanville, Protection Gateway –Syria and the Question of Non-Violent Resistance
2. World Federation of UN Associations –Statement on the Grave Situation in Syria
1. Amnesty International Report –Mali: Civilians bear the brunt of the conflict
2. Enough Project Report –Shifting the Burden: The Responsibility to Protect Doctrine and the Humanitarian Crisis in Sudan
3. Minority Rights Group International –MRG condemns ethnic and religious attacks in Kenya and calls on the government to address the root causes of conflicts to avoid escalation of violence
1. Panel Event on 27 September (University of Toronto) –International Crises: Should Canada Intervene to Protect Human Rights; Featured speakers include Senator Roméo Dallaire, Martha Hall Findlay and Senator Art Eggleton
1. Kyle Matthews (Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies), Centre for International Policy Studies –Canada’s Abandonment of the Responsibility to Protect
2. Asia-Pacific Centre for R2P and AusAIDReport –Understanding and Forecasting Political Instability and Genocide for Early Warning
3. The Stanley Foundation Policy Brief –Building State Capacity to Prevent Atrocity Crimes: Implementing Pillars One and Two of the R2P Framework
4. The Aegis Trust, Minority Rights Group International, UNA-UK –Joint Letter to Foreign Secretary on General Assembly dialogue on R2P
5. WFM-Canada –Letter to Canadian Foreign Minister ahead of the General Assembly dialogue
1. Simon Adams, Huffington Post –Emergent Powers: India, Brazil, South Africa and the Responsibility to Protect
2. Alex Bellamy, Protection Gateway –It’s Time to Make Prevention a “Living Reality”
3. Tim Dunne, Lowy Interpreter –R2P, Libya, and the myth of regime change

The civil war in Syria continues unabated with accusations of mass violence from both sides. On 17 September, Chief investigator of the Commission of Inquiry in Syria, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro gave an oral update on the crisis to the Human Rights Council. Pinheiro reported that government forces and members of the state-controlled militia known as the Shabiha had committed war crimes, gross violations against human rights and crimes against humanity, and that anti-government armed groups had also committed war crimes. He noted that the Commission gathered a “formidable and extraordinary body of evidence” on individuals believed to be responsible, and reported that a confidential list would be given to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.
According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, more than 260,000 individuals have registered in neighboring countries since the crisis began in March 2011, and over 2.5 million Syrians are in need of humanitarian assistance. The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights reported that as of 20 September over 29,000 had been killed. Human Rights Watch reported on 17 September that armed opposition groups subjected detainees to torture and committed extrajudicial executions, even though group leaders had sufficient oversight to curb such acts. Save the Children also released a report on 25 September featuring testimonies from children in refugee camps, including many accounts of torture.
The Friends of Syria, including delegations from the European Union, Arab League, United States and Syrian opposition, met on 20 September in the Netherlands with financial experts to discuss new ways to build economic pressure on the Syrian government. Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi said on 25 September that a diplomatic group including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey could help end the crisis, maintaining that foreign intervention would be a mistake. Meanwhile, Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States on the Syrian crisis, Lakhdar Brahimi, who has been meeting with several governments as well as populations displaced by the crisis, reported to the UN Security Council on 24 September that he saw no immediate prospect for an end to the conflict. Nonetheless, as Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated during his address to the Opening Debate of the 67th Session of the General Assembly on 25 September, “It is the duty of our generation to put an end to impunity for international crimes, in Syria (…) It is our duty to give tangible meaning to the responsibility to protect.”
1. Syria and the Question of Non-Violent Resistance
Dr. Luke Glanville
Protection Gateway
25 September 2012
Dr. Luke Glanville is a Research Fellow at Griffith University in Australia, and on the research staff of the Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. He is also Co-Editor of “Global Responsibility to Protect”.
What should we be hoping for when we look at the ongoing crisis in Syria? I don’t really know anymore.
The most interesting book that I have read this year is Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Non-Violent Conflict, by Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan (Columbia University Press, 2011). (…)
The argument of the book (…) is straightforward: Non-violent campaigns of resistance are more than twice as effective as violent insurgencies in achieving their stated goals. (…) Moreover, the authors argue, campaigns of non-violent resistance, when successful, are much more likely to lead to the establishment of durable and internally peaceful democracies than are successful violent insurgencies which are often followed by regress into civil war within a few years. (…)
The implications for Syria (and similarly for Libya) are distressing. (…) The decision by elements of the Syrian resistance movement (which remained peaceful for longer than did the equivalent movement in Libya) to turn from a campaign of non-violence to violent insurgency may ultimately prove tragic. Even if they are successful in overthrowing Assad’s regime, there is a danger that they will have inaugurated a period of violence and instability leading to greater civilian suffering and death than was experienced even while the tyrannical Assad wielded power unopposed.
Of course, this is not to excuse the Assad regime for its brutal response to the resistance campaign – a response which has already led to as many as 20,000 deaths including many civilians. Similarly, it is not to rebuke the rebels for desiring freedom from oppressive rule. But, having read Chenoweth and Stephan’s book, I find it difficult to hope that the rebels successfully achieve a violent victory.
Read the full post.
2. Statement on the Grave Situation in Syria
World Federation of UN Associations
17 September 2012
The Executive Committee of the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA), elected by non-partisan civil society organizations in over 110 countries, is deeply concerned over the grave loss of life in Syria and expresses solidarity with the citizens of Syria who are confronting daily atrocities.
Recognizing the difficulty of the situation in Syria we call upon all parties to the United Nations, and in particular the United Nations’ Security Council, to take their role in preventing and halting mass violence seriously by seeking a multi-lateral solution to the conflict in a timely and decisive manner. (…)
Calling for all parties to the United Nations to increase humanitarian efforts to reduce the further loss of life in Syria and neighboring countries we request the United Nations to secure humanitarian aid and full humanitarian services for the targeted victims of the Syrian civil war.
Noting the grave risk of the loss of credibility of the United Nations we urge the Member States of the United Nations' Security Council to find an effective and immediate resolution to the conflict. We strongly support the United Nation’s Joint Representative for Syria Mr. Brahimi in continuing and enhancing the diplomatic efforts of the United Nations to find such resolution to the conflict.
We, the people’s movement of the United Nations, underscore the importance of civil society’s contributions to the removal of obstacles to peace and security and urge all parties to ensure increased civil society engagement in the conflict resolution process.
Read the full statement.
1. Report –Mali: Civilians bear the brunt of the conflict
Amnesty International
20 September 2012
Amputations and other corporal punishments, sexual violence, daily harassment with the aim of imposing new moral codes, child soldiers, extra-judicial executions: these are the violations against civilians observed by an Amnesty International delegation returning from a two-week mission in Mali. (…)
(…) Civilians, on either side of the line are subject to serious human rights violations and human rights abuses. Almost 436,000 people have fled the North to seek refuge in the government-controlled area, in the central south of the country, or in neighbouring states, and those who have stayed at home are subject to the abuses of armed groups. (…)
As the leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are studying the application of the Malian authorities for aviation and logistical support for a future offensive by government forces in the north of the country, it is essential that all parties involved meet the standards of international humanitarian and human rights law so that civilians will no longer bear the brunt of this conflict.
Read the report.
2. Report - Shifting the Burden: The Responsibility to Protect Doctrine and the Humanitarian Crisis in Sudan
Jenn Christian
Enough Project
13 September 2012
For over a year, the government of Sudan, led by alleged genocidaire President Omar al-Bashir, has denied international humanitarian aid organizations access to the states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, in which a coalition of armed opposition groups, known as the Sudan Revolutionary Front, or SRF, has been fighting against government forces. Simultaneously, President Bashir’s regime has been purposefully targeting civilian populations, indiscriminately bombing farmland and villages and systematically destroying civilian property. The result: a humanitarian crisis comparable to that seen today in Syria and, less than a decade ago, in the Sudanese region of Darfur.
The United Nations estimates that nearly 700,000 civilians are internally displaced or severely affected by the conflicts in South Kordofan and Blue Nile. Of this number, it is thought that as many as 400,000 civilians may be located in areas controlled by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, an armed component of the SRF. (…)
The facts related to the humanitarian situation in South Kordofan and Blue Nile make abundantly clear that the government of Sudan has no interest in protecting its civilians from insecurity and starvation. Indeed, the government, itself, has created and continues to perpetuate a situation in which Sudanese civilians are routinely and systematically targeted by government and government-backed military forces. The government has also purposefully denied international humanitarian assistance, despite concerted diplomatic efforts, over the course of at least seven months, on the part of the U.N., the African Union, the League of Arab States, and a number of individual countries. Under the responsibil­ity to protect doctrine, or “R2P,” these facts would shift the burden to protect affected Sudanese civilians from the government of Sudan to the international community. (…)
Read the full report.
3. MRG condemns ethnic and religious attacks in Kenya and calls on the government to address the root causes of conflicts to avoid escalation of violence
Minority Rights Group International
12 September 2012
Minority Rights Group International condemns the on-going retaliatory attacks between the Orma and Pokomo tribes in the Tana River District, Kenya, and calls on the government to take immediate steps to protect the lives of affected communities and prevent a further escalation of violence.
MRG especially encourages the government of Kenya, building on the positive environment created by its new and progressive constitution, to address the thorny land issue via appropriate legal and institutional reforms in order to reduce marginalization and ease tensions.
‘Cattle rustling and clashes over grazing and farming land are relatively common between communities in arid areas of East Africa and often escalate into revenge attacks,' says Chris Chapman, MRG's Head of Conflict Prevention.
‘This will continue to threaten the stability of many countries in the region, including Kenya, unless the governments act swiftly to ensure dialogue among warring groups, inclusive representation for all communities, and equitable access to land and natural resources,' he adds.
The Red Cross has stated that last month's clashes between two northern Kenya ethnic groups, the settled Pokomo farmers and semi-nomadic Orma pastoralists, have sparked a humanitarian crisis, with over 100 killed and thousands displaced.
According to media reports, violence broke out last month when about 200 armed Pokomo youth attacked Orma villagers in the Tana River district, in an alleged revenge attack over the deaths of three Pokomo at the hands of Orma people. It is estimated that over 50 Orma villagers were killed in the scuffle. Several days earlier, the Pokomo had accused the pastoralists of grazing cattle on their land. (…)
Read full press release.
Read Human Rights Watch’s 13 September article, Kenya: Investigate All Politicians in Tana River Violence.
1. Panel Event: International Crises: Should Canada Intervene to Protect Human Rights?
Canadian Lawyers’ for International Human Rights
27 September 2012, 6:30 PM
George Ignatieff Theatre, 5 Devonshire Place, University of Toronto
The Canadian Lawyers’ for International Human Rights (CLAIHR) is facilitating a panel discussion on “International Crises: Should Canada Intervene to Protect Human Rights?” Featured speakers will include Senator Roméo Dallaire, former Liberal Member of Parliament for Willowdale Martha Hall Findlay and Senator Art Eggleton, and the event will be moderated by Jon Kay, Managing Editor of the National Post.
The event will also feature a sneak preview of rough cuts from Senator Dallaire’s new documentary with Producer Peter Raymont, “Fight Like Soldiers, Die Like Children”. There will be a cocktail reception following the event.
Purchase tickets online or read more about the event. Students can register for priority access to seating by contacting This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
1. Canada’s Abandonment of the Responsibility to Protect
Kyle Matthews
Centre for International Policy Studies
20 September 2012
(…) While all member states of the United Nations endorsed the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine in 2005, we continue to witness individual countries that employ their veto at the UN Security Council, effectively blocking action. China and Russia have three times gone to bat for the Syrian government in the past 12 months alone. Citing the NATO-led and UN-approved intervention in Libya, both Moscow and Beijing now equate R2P with regime change. The existence of restive minority populations within both countries (for example the Chechens and Tibetans) adds another dimension to their hostility to R2P. (…)
However, the most surprising critic of R2P today is not an autocratic or dictatorial regime. It is a democratic country: Canada.
(…) Whether the current government is distancing itself from R2P for partisan reasons (it was championed by a Liberal government) or because of ideological ones, it does not appear that this doctrine will disappear from the world stage anytime soon. A multitude of think tanks and non-governmental organizations (including the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect and the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect) have emerged on the global scene as a direct result of Canada’s past leadership on human rights. R2P is here to stay.
Canada should get back on the bandwagon and join our other allies (including the United States) who support R2P and who realize that the destabilizing effects of mass atrocities have the potential to affect our national security and social cohesion. Canada could elevate its international status by naming a high-level R2P focal point within government, and by rejoining the ‘Friends of R2P’ group in New York. (…)
Read the full article.
2. Report: Understanding and Forecasting Political Instability and Genocide for Early Warning
Charles R. Butcher, Benjamin E. Goldsmith, Dimitri Semenovich, Arcot Sowmya
Australian Government – AusAID, Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, The University of Sydney, The University of New South Wales
September 2012
Genocide is not an inevitable feature of the modern world. Nor, when the killing has started, is the process inexorable. Genocides can be prevented, or, at least, stopped when they begin. The fact that genocide continues to occur, and continues to attract a range of international responses from the ignorant to the anemic and, occasionally, the forceful, no doubt reflects the reluctance of concerned major powers to become militarily involved in foreign conflicts where traditional national interests are not at stake. Information, however, also has a role to play. Accurate and reliable forecasts of genocide can act as a ‘force multiplier’ by increasing the efficacy of prevention and intervention strategies, and, where these fail, improving the chances of successful prosecution to deter other leaders from committing these crimes in the future. And while no forecasting model can be a substitute for political will, adequate forewarning and monitoring should alleviate some of the uncertainty associated with deployments in foreign lands and close the window for states to obfuscate and avoid real opportunities (some would say obligations) to prevent genocide.
In this report, we discuss the design, results, and usefulness of a quantitative model to forecast genocide. (…)
We begin this report by detailing how an ‘early warning’ system capable of identifying countries at the highest risk of genocide might enhance prevention, intervention and prosecution efforts. This is followed by a brief overview of global and regional trends in the occurrence of genocide after World War II. We then discuss the design of our forecasting model and how the forecasts for 2011-2015 should be interpreted. The register of fifteen ‘at-risk’ states for the years 2011-2015 is then presented. Predictors that place these states at high risk, along with some historical and contemporary examples, are then discussed. We conclude by reflecting upon some future directions for forecasting events of massive human rights violations. In addition to discussing definitional issues, the appendix provides a list of the predictors used in the models and data sources. (…)
Read the full report.
3. Policy Brief: Building State Capacity to Prevent Atrocity Crimes: Implementing Pillars One and Two of the R2P Framework
David J. Simon
The Stanley Foundation
September 2012
(…) The international community’s varied approaches to potential and escalating atrocities over the last several years have demonstrated the degree to which R2P has reframed the language, if not always the outcome, of global political engagement. Failures to prevent lead to questions of response, and attention is invariably drawn to the debates over potential interventions. Yet the realm of activity that will make the greatest difference in preventing atrocities occupies the space between the uncontroversial embrace of state and international responsibility, on the one hand, and the controversies that inevitably surround international intervention, on the other. It lies in the operationalization of the first and second pillars.
The first pillar of the secretary-general’s report on implementing the R2P stipulates that states shoulder the primary responsibility to protect their populations from mass atrocities. Given that the acts enumerated under the rubric of mass atrocity are internationally and/or universally codified crimes, one can hardly imagine it any other way.
Yet what states and the regimes that inhabit them need do to fulfill this responsibility most effectively is not necessarily clear. Institution building plays a major role, since the best-case scenario involves enduring structures that prevent mass atrocities from occurring—or better yet, that prevent serious threats from arising. However, the implications do not stop at stronger institutions. First, while strong institutions are necessary for the protection of populations, strong institutions in the wrong hands— those of a mass-atrocity-inclined regime—obviously undermine the prospects of atrocity prevention. The right set and combination of institutional reforms is thus required. Second, institutions, at least in the formal sense, are not the only thing that matters. The regimes that inhabit the apparatus of the state must continuously dedicate themselves to the principle of protection and to their responsibility to ensure it.
The second pillar, meanwhile, commits the international community to help sovereign states acquire the capacity they need to protect their populations from mass atrocity crimes. In so doing, it offers a welcome bridge between sovereign and international concern. However, it nonetheless raises several questions: What does that commitment actually entail? How can states and other interested international actors (i.e., the global community) help states realize their responsibilities? What strategies for building capacity are most promising?
This policy brief lays out the most basic principles of building states’ pillar one and pillar two capacities.
It does so by first proposing a model of how mass atrocity crimes occur in order to isolate what types of institutions and measures might be most effective in preventing them. It concludes with a proposal for how a concerted international effort to build capacity to prevent mass atrocity crimes might also include a regime to analyze and monitor the protective capacities of states and societies. (…)
4. Joint Letter to Foreign Secretary on General Assembly dialogue on R2P
The Aegis Trust, Minority Rights Group International, UNA-UK
4 September 2012
The following letter was sent to the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary William Hague by the Aegis Trust, Minority Rights Group International and UNA-UK, three UK-based ICRtoP members.
On behalf of the Aegis Trust, Minority Rights Group and the United Nations Association of the United Kingdom (UNA-UK) ,we are writing with respect to the 5 September 2012 informal interactive dialogue of the United Nations General Assembly on the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP). (…)
We encourage Her Majesty’s Government to consider the following key points in its intervention:
The United Kingdom should affirm its support for the Responsibility to Protect and reflect on how the government is working to operationalise RtoP through various agencies, policies and activities.
The United Kingdom should also make clear that it is committed to developing national capacity to implement the Responsibility to Protect through its national focal point on the Responsibility to Protect and should outline the measures being undertaken in relation to the role of the focal point.
The United Kingdom should emphasise the understanding that the Responsibility to Protect is primarily a preventative doctrine which utilises all of the three pillars. In the initial articulation of the three pillar framework, the Secretary-General did not call for the chronological sequencing of the pillars, but rather established them together as representative of the full range of measures necessary to protect. The relationship between the three pillars is interactive and mutually supportive.
The third pillar of the Responsibility to Protect includes a broad range of non-coercive and coercive measures that actors at the national, regional and international level can utilise for the protection of populations.
The risk and occurrence of RtoP crimes are in their very nature threats to international peace and security. There are never situations in which states do not have a responsibility to protect their populations from these crimes. Therefore, the question is not whether RtoP applies to a situation, rather, how best to operationalise the norm.
Governments, sub-regional and regional organisations and UN bodies should continue to engage in dialogue as well as collaborative efforts, including with civil society organisations, to more fully establish and deepen their mutual commitments and to agree upon viable strategies to protect populations from RtoP crimes.
(…) It is our understanding that the United Kingdom has appointed a national focal point within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, yet there is limited information available on the role and activities of the focal point since appointment. The Aegis Trust, Minority Rights Group and the UNA-UK would welcome further information on the role and activities of this focal point. (…)
Read the full letter.
5. Letter to Canadian Foreign Minister ahead of the General Assembly dialogue
World Federalist Movement - Canada
23 August 2012
The following letter was sent to Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird by the World Federalist Movement – Canada, a ICRtoP member based in Ottawa, Canada.
(…) On behalf of the World Federalist Movement – Canada, I am writing with respect to the 5 September 2012 informal interactive dialogue of the United Nations General Assembly on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P). We encourage the Government of Canada to make a strong contribution to the 2012 UN debate on R2P by including the following key points in its statement at the General Assembly:
1) Canada should affirm its support for the Responsibility to Protect.
2) Canada should reflect its understanding that R2P is essentially and primarily a preventive doctrine. (…)
3) Canada should acknowledge the positive contribution of the Brazilian initiative “Responsibility While Protecting.” (…)
4) Canada should recognize the importance of incorporating the Responsibility to Protect in the work of other parts of the UN system, including the UN Human Rights Council.
5) Canada should utilize the occasion of the UN General Assembly debate to announce our government’s intention to appoint an R2P focal point. (…)
The World Federalist Movement recognizes that, while the R2P concept is now widely accepted, its consistent application will entail sustained efforts over the long term to strengthen and reform the United Nations system. Our organization is also programmatically engaged in support of measures such as a reformed and more transparent UN Security Council, and creation of standing, rapidly deployable UN peace operations capacities (such as the proposed UN Emergency Peace Service). (…)
Read the full letter.
Read a recent NATO Watch editorial in the latest issue of the Observatory, “What will NATO contribute to the R2P dialogue at the UN General Assembly?”
1. Emergent Powers: India, Brazil, South Africa and the Responsibility to Protect
Simon Adams
Huffington Post
20 September 2012
Simon Adams is the Executive Director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect.
(…) Due to one of those remarkable coincidences that history occasionally throws our way, last year all three IBSA countries [India, Brazil and South Africa] were on the UN Security Council as the crises in Syria and Libya erupted. India, Brazil and South Africa all voted for resolution 1970 which framed the developing crisis in Libya in terms of R2P, imposed sanctions and referred the Qaddafi regime to the International Criminal Court for killing its own people. When Qaddafi failed to comply with resolution 1970, South Africa voted for resolution 1973 authorizing military intervention to stop mass atrocities in Libya. Although Brazil and India abstained, they made statements recognizing the need for drastic international action.
Within days South Africa displayed significant signs of buyer's remorse, distancing itself from the resulting NATO-led airstrikes. Brazil and India also became increasingly critical. (…)
In the aftermath of Libya, the Security Council were able to support invocations of R2P with regard to crises in South Sudan, Yemen and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was impossible, however, to find consensus with regard to R2P and the Syrian government's deadly crackdown against protestors.
With a strained atmosphere at UN headquarters in New York, in August 2011 IBSA sent a high-level delegation to Damascus to plead with President al-Assad to stop the killing. It was a perilous, if well intentioned, venture. (…) If the accusation against NATO was that it had used R2P as camouflage for regime change in Libya, some within IBSA now veered dangerously close to using Libya as an excuse for defending the indefensible in Syria.
Two months later India, Brazil and South Africa all abstained from a 4 October Security Council resolution aimed at curtailing the Syrian government's killing. Brazil explained its abstention as a protest against the posturing and division amongst the five permanent Security Council members. Meanwhile, the justification from South Africa's Ambassador to the UN, Baso Sangqu, was that with regard to Syria the "trajectory, the templates for the solution were very clear, it was along similar lines to Libya." Or in other words, IBSA was not condoning Assad's crimes, but avoiding a slippery slope to military intervention. The argument would have been more convincing if any UN member state was actually calling for military intervention, but none was. (…)
Brazil, however, eventually tried to bridge the diplomatic divide at the UN by publishing a short paper on the "Responsibility while Protecting" (RWP) in November 2011. (…) RWP was not an innovation but a critical clarification with regard to the future application of R2P. It reemphasized R2P's preventive core and resuscitated meaningful dialogue at the UN. (…)
By early 2012, therefore, despite lingering concerns, the emerging consensus (enabled largely by Brazil) was that R2P's advocates needed to develop better preventive, mediated and coercive tools to operationalize R2P in the future. But what does this portend for both R2P and the future of IBSA with regard to the United Nations? (…)
All three IBSA countries want to demonstrate their capacity to serve as permanent members of a reformed and expanded UN Security Council. But their track record on R2P so far has been uneven. (…)
Read the full article.
2. It’s Time to Make Prevention a “Living Reality”
Alex Bellamy
Protection Gateway
12 September 2012
Although the topic of this year’s UN General Assembly informal interactive dialogue on the Responsibility to Protect was timely and decisive response, many Member States expressed their support for the UN Secretary-General’s view that the international community should focus on preventing the four RtoP crimes, thereby reducing the need for timely and decisive response. Many participating states emphasized the primacy of prevention and the Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, called on the Assembly to make prevention a “living reality”. (…)
Given the breadth of support for prevention exhibited by the dialogue and the fact that the Secretary-General declared 2012 to be his “year of prevention”, it seems fair to suggest that it is time to move prevention from the realm of rhetoric to the world of practice.
During the 2012 dialogue, three significant themes were highlighted in relation to prevention. First, the EU raised the question of how to deliver on the UN’s commitment to prevention, especially the further development of early warning, assessment and action; mediation and dialogue; and preventive diplomacy.  South Africa offered an answer by calling for an integrated strategy for prevention. Second, Nigeria raised questions about the strengthening of prevention partnerships between the UN and regional and sub-regional arrangements and the provision of capacity building assistance to the latter. Third, New Zealand raised the question of late-stage prevention and asked how resistance to determined international action might be overcome when the warning signs of imminent genocide and mass atrocities emerge.
(…) In order to address the three sets of concerns highlighted in the 2012 dialogue on RtoP, a UN strategy for preventing the four crimes should entail seven core elements.
- First, work towards a shared understanding of the factors that can increase the risk of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, elements that mitigate these risks and the instruments at the international community’s disposal.
- Second, acknowledgement of the work that the UN system and its partners already undertake which contributes to the mitigation of these risks, areas where there are gaps in the relevant capabilities (including capacity gaps and coordination gaps), and the development of a program of work designed to close those gaps.
- Third, the mainstreaming of RtoP’s prevention goals across the UN system, as called for in the Secretary-General’s 2009 report on the subject.
- Fourth, the strengthening and regularizing of assistance to Member States aimed at helping them achieve their primary responsibility to protect, as set out in the second pillar of RtoP.
- Fifth, strengthening of the UN Secretariat’s support for early decision-making and preventive action through stronger analytical methodologies and capacities capable of assessing situations and policy options in an impartial, consistent and transparent manner and mechanisms to ensure that Member States have access to the Secretariat’s advice at an early stage in any crisis.
- Sixth, the strengthening of partnerships between the UN and regional and sub-regional arrangements especially in relation to (a) strengthening the preventive capacity of regional and sub-regional arrangements; (b) the two-way sharing of analysis and assessment; and (c) the establishment of “anticipatory” relationships in advance of any crisis to facilitate the coordination of preventive action.
- Seventh, the development of a strategy for engaging in partnerships for prevention with civil society organizations. (…)
Read the full post.
3. R2P, Libya, and the myth of regime change
Tim Dunne
Lowy Interpreter
5 September 2012
Tim Dunne is a Professor of International Relations in the Asia-Pacific Centre for R2Pat the University of Queensland.
(…) R2P is not about to RIP, and neither is it on a life-support system. That said, there is no doubt that the diplomatic and decision-making framework known as R2P is under considerable strain. This is apparent in the UNSG's report, in which the Libya conflict only receives one paragraph's worth of direct discussion. It's a Basil Fawlty-like treatment ('don't mention the war'), in light of the noise Libya has generated.
There are two reasons for conceding that the coercive dimension of R2P is in trouble. First, the ongoing the fallout in the Security Council over Syria, suggesting deep divisions have opened up between the G3 (US, France, Britain) and the G2 (China, Russia). (…)
Second, and related, R2P has been tarnished by its association with regime change.
There is much to say about this complex relationship. The claim that the mandate for Libya was modified to enable the goal of regime change is generally asserted rather than supported by evidence. Still, as the influential Brazilian addendum to the R2P framework notes, there is a 'growing perception that the concept of the responsibility to protect might be misused for purposes other than protecting civilians, such as regime change'.
For this claim to be persuasive in relation to Libya, both of the following would have to be demonstrated: first, that the political leaders undertaking the action deliberately blurred the boundaries between protecting civilians and toppling Qadhafi; and second, that military leaders targeted command and control centres in a manner that was not consistent with the mandate. What follows is a consideration of the first of these two points (the second will be a topic for a later post).
Speaking at the National Defense University on 28 March 2011, billed as an 'address to the nation' on Libya, President Obama openly dealt with the mandate issue: 'Of course, there is no question that Libya -– and the world –would be better off with Qaddafi out of power. I, along with many other world leaders, have embraced that goal, and will actively pursue it through non-military means. But broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake'.
Two weeks later, on 14 April, the leaders of the G3 – Obama, Cameron, Sarkozy – wrote an op-ed questioning whether the action would have been justifiable if Qadhafi was to remain in power. They linked NATO's action to maintaining 'pressure' on the regime, and in so doing, raised questions about whether they were advocating a change of mandate. 
However, the article also noted that it was 'our duty and our mandate under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 is to protect civilians, and we are doing that. It is not to remove Qaddafi by force'. What seems to have been going on in the minds of these leaders is that 'pressure' is within the mandate but using force to target the institutions of the state – beyond what was necessary to protect civilians — was not.
The op-ed definitely blurred the boundary at a time when Russia and others were openly questioning whether the NATO-led action was reaching beyond the actions authorised. The G3 leaders ought, in hindsight, to have said that the regime change 'path' was one that could only be brought about by 'non-military means' (as was stated more clearly in Obama's 28 March speech). (…)
In reality, when coercive power is unleashed against a regime that is committing atrocities, it is impossible to discretely isolate means and ends; protecting civilians from the air is bound to alter the balance of forces on the ground. Yet it remains important to distinguish between the intentions of the civilian leaders implementing 1973 from the unintended consequences of the military action they instigated – even if regime change was enabled by the primary goal of the mandate.


Browse Documents by Region:

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