2 October 2013
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1. Security Council Overcomes Differences to Pass First Resolution on Syria since April 2012
2. Security Council Passes Landmark Resolution on Small Arms and Light Weapons
3. Eighteen new countries sign the Arms Trade Treaty
4. 113 Governments Adopt the Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict
5. High Number of Countries Reference RtoP in their Opening Statements at the General Debate
1. Joint Statement by the Special Advisers on the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect on the Situation in the Central African Republic: 1 October 2013
2. International Crisis Group: The Dark Side of Transition: Violence Against Muslims in Myanmar: 1 October 2013
3. African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies and FIDH Call Upon the AU to Send an Urgent Commission of Inquiry into Bloody Repression of Protests in Sudan: 1 October 2013
4. Nicholas Kulish, New York Times: South Sudan’s Army Faces Accusations of Civilian Abuse: 28 September 2013
5. International Crisis Group: Yemen’s Southern Question: Avoiding a Breakdown: 25 September 2013
1) 30 September 2013: CIGI: The Evolution of Responsibility to Protect: Securing Individuals in a World of States
2) 1 October 2013: World Affairs Council: Preventing Genocide: Do We Have a Responsibility to Protect?
3) 3 October 2013: Blue Ribbon Panel of Experts to Unveil Draft Statute for Syrian Tribunal
4) 7 October 2013: Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect and Cardozo Law School Report Launch: A Common Standard for Applying the Responsibility to Protect
5) 8 October 2013: George Mason University: A Preview of the New Book by Richard O’Brien: The Most Dangerous Century
6) 10 October 2013: Rutgers University: How Can Genocide Be Prevented? A Talk Featuring Adama Dieng, UN Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide
7) 22-25 October 2013: Post Conflict Research Centre: Preventing Genocide Workshop in Skopje, Macedonia:
1. Security Council Overcomes Differences to Pass First Resolution on Syria since April 2012
On Friday, 27 September, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution on the Syrian crisis, largely in response to the chemical weapons attack in Ghoutta on 21 August. The resolution calls for diplomatic peace negotiations and the elimination of the chemical weapons stockpiles held by the Syrian regime, insisting that “no party in Syria should use, develop, produce, acquire, stockpile, retain, or transfer chemical weapons.” Any action by any party contravening the Council’s resolution could lead the Council to impose measures under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, including sanctions or coercive means. (However, any Chapter VII actions would require a new Security Council resolution.)
While many applauded any Security Council consensus on Syria as welcome progress, several civil society organizations have expressed disappointment with language left out of the resolution. Though the resolution states that those responsible for the chemical weapons attacks “should be held accountable”, the Council failed to establish any mechanisms for accountability for the perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Despite calls from civil society and other UN Member States, no language was included on referring the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court. Furthermore, the resolution says little about protecting civilians killed by more conventional weapons every day. As Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated, “As we mark this important step, we must never forget that the catalogue of horrors in Syria continues with bombs and tanks, grenades and guns. A red light for one form of weapons does not mean a green light for others. This is not a license to kill with conventional weapons. All the violence must end. All the guns must fall silent.”
As of this morning (2 October), the Security Council appears to be negotiating a draft presidential statement on the humanitarian situation in Syria.
2. Security Council Passes Landmark Resolution on Small Arms and Light Weapons
On 26 September 2013, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) adopted Resolution 2117 (2013), which pertains specifically to the illicit transfer and misuse of small arms and light weapons. Recognizing the role that these weapons play in the commission of atrocity crimes and in the general breach of international peace and security, the Resolution calls for strengthened collaboration and communication between Member States regarding the transfer of small arms, upholds the non-supply of weapons to terrorists, emphasizes the role of regional and sub-regional organizations in supporting and facilitating efforts to track and reduce the transfer of small arms, and reiterates the call to Member States to sign the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).
During discussions preceding the vote on the Resolution, several Member States referenced the concept of the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP), including President Perez Molina of Guatemala, who reaffirmed “the responsibility of States themselves to protect their civilians – most of all women and children” and “[emphasized] that preventing the proliferation of small arms must be part of that commitment.” The Resolution also specifically mentions RtoP principles, in its recognition that “the misuse of small arms and light weapons has resulted in grave crimes,” and reaffirming the “relevant provisions of the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document regarding the protection of civilians in armed conflict, including paragraphs 138 and 139 thereof regarding the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.”
3. Eighteen new countries sign the Arms Trade Treaty
On Wednesday, 25 September, eighteen new countries, including the United States, signed the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), bringing the total number of signatories to 112. The ATT, adopted by the General Assembly on 2 April 2013, will control the previously-unregulated trade in conventional arms. As the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs notes, conventional arms are the “weapons of choice in modern day intra-state armed conflict.” If ratified and implemented by states, the ATT will prevent the sale and transfer of conventional arms to war criminals, human rights abusers (including those who commit gender-based violence), warlords, pirates, and gangs—and thereby help states to fulfill their responsibilities to protect.
4. 113 Governments Adopt the Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict
In the “Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict”, adopted on 24 September on the sidelines of the General Assembly, 113 government signatories acknowledged that sexual violence in armed conflict perpetuates conflict and stability, recalling that rape and other forms of sexual violence constitute war crimes and breaches of the Geneva Conventions. States pledged themselves to, inter alia, ensuring that “sexual violence prevention and response efforts are prioritized and adequately funded from the first phase and throughout all responses to conflict and humanitarian emergencies” and to promoting “women’s full participation in all political, governance and security structures, as well as all decision-making processes, including peace negotiations, peacebuilding, prevention and accountability efforts…” Moreover, Governments vowed within the Declaration to raise awareness of sexual violence, challenge existing impunity for perpetrators, and to support national and international efforts to build state capacity to prevent and these crimes, all of which are crucial to the implementation of RtoP.
5. High Number of Countries Reference RtoP and Related Issues in their Opening Statements
As we have done in past years, ICRtoP is making statements referencing RtoP by Governments at the opening of the 68th session of the General Assembly available on our Government Statements page. The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect has been tracking RtoP-related references in state interventions and will publish their full report in the near future.
1. Statement by Mr. Adama Dieng, United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, and Ms. Jennifer Welsh, United Nations Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, on the situation in the Central African Republic
1 October 2013
The United Nations Special Advisers on the Prevention of Genocide, Mr. Adama Dieng, and on the Responsibility to Protect, Ms. Jennifer Welsh, expressed their deep concern over the deterioration in the situation in the Central African Republic, and called on the national transitional authorities to take urgent measures to protect the population against the risk of atrocity crimes and to restore the rule of law and public order. They also urged the international community to support regional initiatives by the African Union and the Economic Community of Central African States aimed at protecting the population and preventing further abuses.
(…) According to the recent report issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the “Situation of human rights in the Central Africa Republic” (A/HRC/24/59), most of these violations appear to have been committed by Seleka soldiers, acting with impunity. Transitional authorities have failed to take adequate measures to prevent further abuses.
“While the international community has yet to engage in a concerted way to prevent atrocities in the Central African Republic, there is still time to take steps to halt the escalation of this crisis and the suffering of the population,” stated the Special Advisers.
“The breakdown of law and order and the apparent inability of the transitional authorities to exercise control over Seleka soldiers committing atrocities, could presage a deepening crisis and a return to large scale fighting. This, compounded with other risk factors, including religious tensions, has opened the door to the risk of atrocity crimes”.
The Special Advisers added that “while the international community is deeply engaged with crisis situations around the world and with the crisis in Syria in particular, we must not forget other populations that are equally in need of protection.”
In the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document, the Member States of the United Nations pledged to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. The protection of the populations in the Central African Republic is the primary responsibility of the State. However, in face of the transitional authorities’ inability to effectively undertake that task, and with the threat of further attacks against civilians, the international community has a responsibility to assist the State to protect its populations. These efforts must include not only immediate measures to deal with the crisis, but should also focus on a sustainable long-term prevention strategy.
2. The Dark Side of Transition: Violence against Muslims in Myanmar
International Crisis Group
1 October 2013
Following the outbreak of deadly intercommunal clashes in Rakhine State in 2012, anti-Muslim violence has spread to other parts of Myanmar. The depth of anti-Muslim sentiment in the country, and the inadequate response of the security forces, mean that further clashes are likely. Unless there is an effective government response and change in societal attitudes, violence could spread, impacting on Myanmar’s transition as well as its standing in the region and beyond.
The violence has occurred in the context of rising Burman-Buddhist nationalism, and the growing influence of the monk-led “969” movement that preaches intolerance and urges a boycott of Muslim businesses. This is a dangerous combination: considerable pent-up frustration and anger under years of authoritarianism are now being directed towards Muslims by a populist political force that cloaks itself in religious respectability and moral authority.
Anti-Indian and anti-Muslim violence is nothing new in Myanmar. It is rooted in the country’s colonial history and demographics, and the rise of Burman nationalism in that context. Deadly violence has erupted regularly in different parts of the country in the decades since. But the lifting of authoritarian controls and the greater availability of modern communications mean that there is a much greater risk of the violence spreading.
Among the most discriminated against populations in Myanmar is the Muslim community in northern Rakhine State, the Rohingya. Most are denied citizenship, and face severe restrictions on freedom of movement as well as numerous abusive policies. In June and October 2012, clashes between Buddhists and Muslims in Rakhine State left almost 200 people dead and around 140,000 displaced, the great majority of them Muslims. Communities remain essentially segregated to this day, and the humanitarian situation is dire.
In early 2013, the violence spread to central Myanmar. The worst incident occurred in the town of Meiktila, where a dispute at a shop led to anti-Muslim violence. The brutal killing of a Buddhist monk sharply escalated the situation, with two days of riots by a 1,000-strong mob resulting in widespread destruction of Muslim neighbourhoods, and leaving at least 44 people dead, including twenty students and several teachers massacred at an Islamic school.
There has been strong domestic and international criticism of the police response. In Rakhine State, the police – who are overwhelmingly made up of Rakhine Buddhists – reportedly had little ability to stop the attacks, and there are allegations of some being complicit in the violence. The army, once it was deployed, performed better. In Meiktila, the police were apparently incapable of controlling the angry crowds that gathered outside the shop, and were hopelessly outnumbered and ineffective when the clashes rapidly escalated.
The violence has regional implications. There has been a sharp increase in the number of Muslims making the treacherous journey by boat from Rakhine State to other countries in the region, prompting public criticism from some of those countries. The intercommunal tensions have also spilled over Myanmar’s borders, with the murders of Myanmar Buddhists in Malaysia, and related violence in other countries. There have also been threats of jihad against Myanmar, and plots and attacks against Myanmar or Buddhist targets in the region. As Myanmar prepares to take over the rotating chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2014, this could become a serious political issue.
The Myanmar government understands what is at stake. President Thein Sein has spoken publicly on the dangers of the violence, and announced a “zero-tolerance” approach. The police response has been improving somewhat, with faster and more effective interventions bringing incidents under control more quickly. And after some delay, perpetrators of these crimes are being prosecuted and imprisoned, although there are concerns that Buddhists sometimes appear to be treated more leniently.
But much more needs to be done. Beyond improved riot-control training and equipment for police, broader reform of the police service is necessary so that it can be more effective and trusted, particularly at the community level, including officers from ethnic and religious minorities. This is only just starting. The government and society at large must also do more to combat extremist rhetoric, in public, in the media and online. At a moment of historic reform and opening, Myanmar cannot afford to become hostage to intolerance and bigotry.
Read the full report.
3. African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies and FIDH Call Upon the AU to Send an Urgent Commission of Inquiry into Bloody Repression of Protests in Sudan
1 October 2013
Over the past 7 days since the start of demonstrations in Sudan on 23 September, at least 170 people have been killed by the Sudanese authorities, hundreds more injured and at least 800 arrested. Newspapers and media outlets have been suspended or censored and known members of political opposition parties, other activists and journalists have been detained. FIDH and its member organisation from Sudan, the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS), strongly condemn the killings and serious restrictions on fundamental rights and freedoms by the Sudanese authorities. We call upon the African Union to urgently send a commission of inquiry to Sudan to investigate allegations of serious human rights violations, including unlawful killings, ensure that those responsible are brought to justice, and prevent further violations.
Demonstrations erupted throughout Sudan following President Omar Al-Bashir’s announcement on 22 September of cuts to fuel subsidies, resulting in a sharp increase in the price of petrol and gas. In protest, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of cities throughout the country including Wad Madani, Khartoum, Omdurman, Port Sudan, Atbara, Gedarif, Nyala, Kosti, and Sinnar. ACJPS has confirmed that 170 people have been killed since the start of the demonstrations. Corroborated information documented by our organisations, including visits to morgues, hospitals and testimonies from witnesses and relatives of victims, show that Sudan’s Central Reserve Forces and National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) have used excessive and disproportionate force, including live ammunition and tear gas, to disperse demonstrators. The majority of deaths resulted from bullet wounds to the upper torso and head.
At least 800 people have been arrested by the police and the NISS in connection with the demonstrations. These include protestors as well as known activists, members of political opposition parties, and journalists. Sudanese Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bushara Dousa, was reported to announce that no detainees arrested in connection with the demonstrations will be granted bail.
The authorities have also closed down and censored newspapers and other media outlets and instructed them not to report on the protests without approval. The offices of Al-Arabiya and Sky New Arabic Service television stations have been closed and daily newspapers such as Al-Sudani, Al-Meghar, Al Gareeda, Almash’had Alaaan, Al-Siyasi and the pro-government Al-Intibaha have been banned from publication. Other outlets, including Al Ayaam and the Citizen have stopped publishing in protest.
FIDH and ACJPS call upon the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), both mandated to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms on the continent, to condemn the excessive use of force and restrictions on fundamental human rights by the Sudanese authorities. The AUPSC and ACHPR should send an urgent commission of inquiry to investigate allegations of the excessive and intentional use of lethal force by the Sudanese authorities and the circumstances leading to the deaths of protestors. Such a commission of inquiry could be conducted in close coordination with the United Nations Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan and the Special Rapporteur on Extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions.
These recent events reflect a broader human rights crisis in Sudan, requiring an urgent and coordinated response. They take place against increasing restrictions on fundamental rights and freedoms as well as ongoing violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, devastating the lives of thousands of civilians in Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states.
FIDH and ACJPS call upon the AU and UN to adopt a comprehensive approach to the situation in Sudan and coordinate their efforts to bring the country onto a path of peace, justice, accountability and respect for the rule of law.
Read the full article here.
For more on the protests, click here.
4. South Sudan’s Army Faces Accusations of Civilian Abuse
New York Times
28 September 2013
PIBOR, South Sudan — As the international community pours billions of dollars into South Sudan in an effort to make it a viable nation, Western observers are now worried that the armed forces in a country they helped create have been preying on civilians.
Witnesses have described soldiers from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army indiscriminately firing on busy market squares, fatally beating noncombatants and raping women.
It is not as if this young nation is lacking in challenges. Since it achieved independence two summers ago, South Sudan has been bedeviled by poverty, high infant mortality, a crippling lack of infrastructure, internal rebellion and frequent disputes over oil and the border with Sudan. In July, South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, abruptly fired the entire cabinet and the vice president, raising political uncertainty even further.
But another longstanding problem — large-scale violence against civilians — has been particularly damaging, claiming thousands of lives in recent years. It is not just deadly clashes among ethnic groups that alarm humanitarian groups and diplomats here. Government forces, in their effort to root out rebels, have been accused of targeting the Murle minority as well.
“The most pressing issue is the abuses by the S.P.L.A., by the army,” said Joshua Konyi Irer, the commissioner of Pibor County, where most of the attacks on civilians have taken place.
South Sudan was established as part of an effort to end a civil war with Sudanese forces in the north that claimed more than two million lives. For decades, Sudanese forces killed civilians in the south, often bombing indiscriminately, part of the staggering death toll that generated international support for the separation of South Sudan.
“We’ve seen very disturbing reports about abuses,” said Grant Harris, senior director for African affairs at the National Security Council, adding that the United States had been “unequivocal” with Mr. Kiir about “the need for South Sudan to protect human rights, protect civilians and ensure accountability for anyone complicit in human rights violations.”
A village elder from the town of Manyabol described a massacre in May where at least a dozen people were killed after the military opened fire on civilians. Government soldiers rampaged through the market in Pibor in January, killing seven civilians and burning 150 huts, local leaders said.
“Those who will be found to have committed those abuses will actually be punished,” Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the foreign minister appointed after the government reshuffle, said last month.
Human Rights Watch issued a report this month documenting nearly 100 killings by government forces, saying that “the potential for further grave violations and violence is high,” in part because of anti-Murle sentiment.
Mr. Benjamin asked for understanding of the challenges facing the weak central government and for financial support to build up troubled Jonglei State, where the violence has been concentrated. “There’s nowhere where you can build a country within two years with such enormous difficulties,” he said.
The army is waging a counterinsurgency campaign against Mr. Yau Yau’s rebel forces. It includes a program to take weapons from civilians. Col. Philip Aguer, spokesman for the military, said more than 30 soldiers had been arrested and were being put on trial over abuses.
“The army is doing its best to investigate and take whoever will be proved committed human rights violation to court,” Colonel Aguer said.
In a military where abuses against its own troops are routine, trying soldiers is itself a significant step.
But Murle leaders say a more systemic bias is at work. They contend that government troops assisted fighters from the rival Lou Nuer ethnic group when they swept through Murle areas in July, helping turn cattle raids into large offensives in which more than 300 people were killed.
The Small Arms Survey, a research project, said it had received credible testimony from international observers that South Sudanese soldiers had “dropped ammunition on several occasions to the Lou Nuer in several locations prior and during the July attacks,” said Jonah Leff, a South Sudan analyst with the survey.
Witnesses said that military helicopters took wounded Lou Nuer fighters to the hospital in the state capital, Bor, and that uniformed soldiers were among the returning fighters.
“The S.P.L.A. uniform, Khartoum uniform, you will get it anywhere even among the civilians; that does not mean they are part of the S.P.L.A.,” Colonel Aguer said, referring to the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. “The S.P.L.A. in its history has never sided with any community.”
Some people have begun returning to towns like Gumuruk, but many more have stayed away, or joined Mr. Yau Yau’s rebels. The South Sudanese government contends that the Sudanese government in Khartoum is providing him with weapons and other support to wage his rebellion.
One woman from Pibor named Uruyen described how five soldiers came to her home in March. “They said, ‘Bring your gun. Bring your weapon.’ I said, ‘I am a woman. I do not have a weapon,’ ” she recalled, her gaze vacant, her voice soft and affectless. She said they kicked her and beat her with sticks before taking turns raping her.
The military’s harsh response may be fueling, rather than dampening, the insurgency. Relatives and community leaders say that young men feel the only place they are safe now is with Mr. Yau Yau’s forces. A woman from Boma told how her husband, a 39-year-old Murle soldier who had fought for the S.P.L.A. since he was 13 years old, was killed along with all the other ethnic Murle in his unit.
5. Yemen’s Southern Question: Avoiding a Breakdown
International Crisis Group
25 September 2013
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Yemen is at a critical juncture. Its six-month National Dialogue Conference (NDC) was to have closed on 18 September, ushering in constitution drafting, a constitutional referendum and new elections. The timetable has slipped, and, though no end date has been set, there is an understandable urge among many international and some domestic actors to stick closely to agreed deadlines, wrap up the NDC negotiations and finish the transition to-do list. But despite progress, there is no broad-based, implementable agreement on the state’s future structure, and thus on the South’s status. Worse, such a result is unlikely to emerge from the current dialogue, even with a short extension. A rush to declare victory and complete the transition checklist could mean forcing through an outcome without necessary legitimacy or buy-in. It would be better to agree to a time-limited delay of the referendum, put in place modified transitional arrangements and ensure the next round of negotiations is in concert with confidence-building measures and includes a wider, more representative array of Southern voices.
How to structure the state arguably has become the most complicated and divisive political issue and must be a key component of any new constitution and durable political settlement. Parties have presented a wide array of options: from the current unitary system, through multi-region federalism, to two-state federalism (one entity in the North, the other in the South). Even this broad spectrum fails to include what, in the South, has turned into an increasingly attractive rallying cry: the demand for immediate independence.
Indeed, the question of the state’s structure inevitably is tied to the so-called Southern issue, shorthand for the political, economic and social demands emanating from the South, which had been an independent state prior to 1990. There, a loosely aligned mix of organisations and activists, known as the Southern Movement (Hiraak), is calling for separation or, at a minimum, temporary two-state federalism followed by a referendum on the South’s future. Separatist sentiment is running high and appears to have strengthened over the course of the transition.
To an extent, the NDC has made advances. It helped launch a healthy and overdue public debate over the roots of the Southern problem and began the consideration of potential outcomes. But the conference faced severe limitations. Debate in Sanaa is far removed from the increasingly separatist Southern street. Within the NDC, discussion of solutions, bereft of detail, was squeezed into the last two months of negotiations. Although consensus appears to be forming around a federal structure, critical elements remain unresolved: how to define administrative boundaries; redistribute political authority; and share resources. Even a general agreement will be hard to achieve. It will require bridging the yawning gap between Hiraak delegates, who demand a three-year transition under two-part federalism in order to rebuild the Southern state in advance of an ill-defined referendum on the South’s future status, and staunch pro-unity advocates, who passionately reject this option.
Garnering popular support for any eventual agreement will be more challenging still. The Hiraak delegation suspended its participation for nearly three weeks, complaining that negotiations were biased against it; even that delegation hardly is representative of broader and more militant Hiraak sentiment. Only a small slice of the Hiraak – many enjoying close ties to President Abdo Robo Mansour Hadi – agreed to join the NDC. The bulk of the movement chose to stay on the sidelines of talks they deemed illegitimate.
The South’s lack of faith in the NDC process perhaps was inevitable, but it has been exacerbated by the absence of genuine measures to improve security and economic conditions in the region. Government promises notwithstanding, little has changed, further undercutting those Southerners willing to negotiate and providing fodder to those for whom the only way out is separation.
As the time for reaching an agreement nears, all parties appear to be digging in their heels. The Hiraak NDC delegation demands significant concessions, arguing that anything short of two-state federalism and/or a promise to organise a referendum on the South’s future status is unacceptable; leaders from the former ruling party, the General People’s Congress (GPC), and from the predominant Islamist party, Islah, flatly refuse either prospect, clinging to the notion of a federal model with multiple administrative units. Each has made bets on the effect of competing political pressures: the former believe that their more militant rank and file will force the North to move toward them; the latter wager that Hadi’s interest in overseeing a successful transition will lead him to impose a compromise on his Hiraak allies. Both cannot be right, and middle ground remains elusive.
Then there are those on the outside. Most Hiraak members bank on the negotiations’ failure, due to inability to reach a substantive compromise or, if it comes to it, lack of implementation on the ground. They vow to escalate protests and a civil disobedience campaign, regardless of NDC decisions, until they achieve independence. A constitutional referendum would provide a focal point for their opposition, triggering a boycott and likely violence. The result would be to further undermine the transition’s legitimacy.
If Yemen hopes to forge a more stable future, it desperately needs to agree on the basic question of its state structure. That much is clear. But it does not mean forcing through a final settlement in circumstances where basic trust, legitimacy and consensus are lacking. That would be more than a fragile state, fragmented country and fractured political class could handle. It likely would further discredit the process, strengthen more militant Southern views and provoke dangerous brinkmanship and bloodshed. The goal instead should be a broad-based agreement that only continued, more inclusive negotiations in the context of improved security and economic conditions potentially can achieve.
Read the full article with recommendations.
1) The Evolution of Responsibility to Protect: Securing Individuals in a World of States
30 September 2013
This lecture discusses the rapid but controversial rise of the principle of the responsibility to protect (R2P) in contemporary world politics. Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General on the Responsibility To Protect Jennifer Welsh demonstrates that while recent years have seen significant moves to institutionalize R2P in both states and international organizations, there has also been continuing contestation over R2P's scope and meaning. Following the lecture, She is joined in discussion by David Welch, CIGI Chair of Global Security at BSIA.
Watch the discussion here.
2) Preventing Genocide: Do We Have a Responsibility to Protect?
World Affairs Council
1 October 2013
Sixty-eight years after the Holocaust, governments continue to struggle with preventing genocide and mass atrocities. In 2005, United Nations member states agreed that nations share a responsibility to protect their citizens from genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and ethnic cleansing. Join Mike Abramowitz, Director of the Center for the Prevention of Genocide at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, and Richard S. Williamson, former presidential special envoy to Sudan, for a discussion about how the responsibility to protect has been applied in recent crises such as Libya and Syria.
Watch the event here.
3) Blue Ribbon Panel of Experts to Unveil Draft Statute for Syrian Tribunal
National Press Club, Washington DC
3 October 2013
The government of Syria has admitted possessing chemical weapons; the United Nations has confirmed that their use killed more than 1,400 people in the outskirts of Damascus last month; and an international process for ridding the country of such weapons has just commenced. But what about holding the perpetrators accountable for violating the Geneva Conventions and the 1925 Chemical Weapons Treaty?
A blue ribbon panel of former international tribunal chief prosecutors, international judges, and leading experts has prepared a Draft Statute for a Syrian Extraordinary Tribunal to Prosecute Atrocity Crimes. It’s being called the “Chautauqua Blueprint” because it was finalized on the margins of a recent conference of several of the chief prosecutors of the various international criminal tribunals at the Chautauqua Institution. The initiative was organized by Case Western Reserve Law Professor Michael Scharf, who is Managing Director of the Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG); and David Crane, former Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, who is a member of PILPG’s Board.
The members of the blue ribbon panel believe the time is particularly ripe for this initiative. According to Scharf: “It can help the Syrian opposition demonstrate its commitment to the rule of law, ensure that accountability plays an appropriate role in peace negotiations, put Syrian officials and military commanders on all sides on notice of potential criminal liability, and lay the groundwork for justice rather than revenge in the immediate aftermath of transition.” Crane adds, “It is a useful framework for not only the Syrians but regional and international organizations to assist in the creation of an appropriate justice mechanism.”
Read the full press release here.
Read the blueprint here.
4) Report Launch: A Common Standard for Applying the Responsibility to Protect
Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect and Cardozo Law School
7 October 2013
The debates over the presence/absence of R2P following the August 2013 chemical weapons attack in Syria underscores the urgency of establishing a common standard for all stakeholders to utilize when discussing the application of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P). The debate - oft propounded in the media- over whether now R2P applies to Syria, as a way to talk about the prospect of military intervention only highlights the urgency and potency of this Report.
The R2P principle rests upon an understanding that protection begins with prevention. However, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s emphasis on early and flexible preventive responses has been undermined by uncertainty over lines of distinction between ameliorating conflict and preventing mass atrocities. Over the past three years the Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Program (HGHR) at the Cardozo Law School has undertaken research to develop a standard for the implementation of R2P in order to prevent atrocities and protect populations at risk. Please join the Cardozo Law School and Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect for this important and timely launch.
Read the invitation here.
5) Preview of The Most Dangerous Century: Genocidal Indifference from 1915-2014
George Mason University
8 October 2013
George Mason University – School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution announces a presentation by Visiting Scholar Richard O’Brien on the Center for the Prevention of Genocide 2000 – 2004 and a preview of his upcoming book ‘The Most Dangerous Century™: Genocidal Indifference from 1915 – 2014. O’Brien served as the Director of the Center for the Prevention of Genocide from 2000 – 2004 and retells how the young organization helped sound the alarm on massacres in Sulawesi, Indonesia, D.R. Congo, Uganda and Darfur, Sudan and the man-induced famine in Nuba, Sudan.
It is also a historical review of the past one-hundred years of genocide, key factors, criminals and heroic acts and specific strategies that can stamp out genocide in this generation. Some of the genocides covered include: Armenia, the Ukraine, the Holocaust, Nigeria, Cambodia, Indonesia, Bosnia and Kosovo, Rwanda, Nuba and Darfur, Sudan, and D.R. Congo.
It is a unique story of an exciting young organization with actual stories of successful intervention that should serve as examples. While it is a book about genocide, the undeniable emphasis is that there is hope.
Read the full invitation.
6) How Can Genocide Be Prevented? A Talk Featuring Adama Dieng, UN Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide
10 October 2013
Genocide has haunted the nations of the world for generations, with recent decades seeing not only WWII’s holocaust but genocides in Armenia, Cambodia, Rwanda, Darfur, and other locales. Understanding the cause of genocide, and seeking ways to prevent it, is the topic of an Oct. 10 free public program at Rutgers University, Newark.
“Genocide Prevention and Global Justice,” a free public program featuring the UN Secretary-General Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng. The program is sponsored by the Rutgers Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights (CGHR) to officially launch its new UNESCO Chair in Genocide Prevention.
Read the full invitation here.
7) Preventing Genocide Workshop
Post Conflict Research Centre
5 October 2013
The Post-Conflict Research Center would like to invite non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) involved in peacebuilding, development, human rights, and related fields to apply to participate in their annual capacity-building seminar on mechanisms for preventing and responding to genocide and mass atrocities.
This year, the 2-day seminar, done with the collaboration of the United Nations Office of the Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide (OSAPG), will be held from October 22 – 25 in Skopje, Macedonia.
Read the full invitation online.