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4.       RtoP Events


The ICRtoP has published the latest additions to its "At a Glance" Series, an educational tool that clarifies the relationship between the Responsibility to Protect and related thematic areas, RtoP tools, and now conflict situations.

In these newest "At a Glance" documents, we provide a 2-page overview of how RtoP relates to four current conflict situations: Syria, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, and Kenya. The Q & A's give a brief background of the crises; an outline of why the international community has a responsibility to protect populations in these countries; and explanations of how various actors have or have not upheld this responsibility. 

Read the latest "At a Glance" documents below!
 

 

On 21 April 2014, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) announced that opposition forces associated with former Vice-President Riek Machar had killed hundreds of civilians after their capture of the town of Bentiu in the oil-rich Unity State on 15-16 April 2014. The victims, who included both South Sudanese (mostly Dinka) and foreign civilians, were targeted after their ethnicity and nationality were determined at a mosque, a church, a hospital, and UN World Food Programme compound. UNMISS also condemned the use of hate speech over the radio, which proclaimed that certain ethnic groups should leave Bentiu and urged “men from one community to commit vengeful sexual violence against women from another community.” Following this massacre, Dinka residents attacked an UNMISS base in Jonglei State where more than 5,000 civilians, mostly Nuer, were sheltering on 17 April. In a press statement on Friday 18 April, the Security Council condemned these attacks targeting civilians, while underscoring "that attacks on civilians and UN peacekeepers may constitute a war crime."
 
Both the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and Security Council Resolution 1820note that rape and other forms of sexual violence can also constitute a war crime, a crime against humanity, or a constitutive act with respect to genocide. Moreover, as outlined in the UN Special Adviser on the Preventionof Genocide’s Analysis Framework, hate speech, as well as “the use of exclusionary ideology and the construction of identities in terms of “us” and “them” to accentuate differences” are indicators that mass atrocities are at risk of occurring. Indeed, UNMISS’s spokesperson deplored such hate speech and incitement to violence as “especially regrettable and unfortunate, given what happened in Rwanda 20 years ago, when radio stations were used to broadcast hate messages”. UNMISS noted that transmitting such messages “only further poisons the political and social climate” of South Sudan and urged for last week’s atrocities to be further investigated.
 
For more information on South Sudan, please see our Crisis Page.


UN Security Council: Support Justice for Syria
Human Rights Watch
14 April 2014


France’s steps at the UN Security Council toward an ICC referral for Syria give momentum to international efforts to ensure justice there, Human Rights Watch said. Security Council members and other countries alike should express support for a referral of the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC). They should impress on reluctant Council members, in particular Russia and China, the urgency of taking up the issue of accountability for crimes committed by all sides.

“For victims in Syria who have known nothing but suffering, despair and abandonment, the ICC would open up the hope of justice and redress,” said Richard Dicker, international justice director at Human Rights Watch. (...)
 
Read the full article. 


Post-Rwanda: Invest in Atrocity Prevention
Pam Omidyar 
Reuters
14 April 2014


(…)The APB brings together every relevant U.S. agency, such as the State Department, the Defense Department and U.S. Agency for International Development to develop new tools for identifying, preventing and responding to escalating crises around the world. But two years later the board’s record is mixed. (…)Yet the solution does not lie, as these critics argue, in dismantling the APB.  In fact, the board requires far more support — and should have more investment.
 
The APB’s mission and mandate is to ensure that atrocities prevention is treated as a core national security priority. But its structure is problematic. One unfortunate consequence of interagency boards is the dilution of leadership and accountability.  Clarity on the ultimate responsibility for the APB and its conduct is needed — as well as continued development and better access to the tools, including high-level diplomatic pressure on parties to the conflict, increased humanitarian access and assistance, denial of impunity for perpetrators and strengthened targeted sanctions for the enablers of atrocities.  All this is crucial to prevent a tipping point into chaos.
 
To be effective, the board needs more support from Congress and civil society and it must be made permanent through an executive order so that atrocities prevention will remain a priority in the future.
 
Read the full article


Upcoming RtoP Events
"The Responsibility to Protect, the Duty to Prevent": A Cycle of Seminars to Spread Knowledge on the Prevention of Mass Atrocities
Budapest Centre for the International Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities
April-May 2014
Rome, Italy


The Budapest Center is hosting a series of seminars in April-May 2014 focusing on the main issues for the prevention and punishment of international crimes and on RtoP at the European and international level. The seminars will study the instruments available within the UN, the European Union, and the African Union, while also examining the link between development and prevention policies.

For more information, click here


“The Collapse of Congo and the Great War of Africa”
CUNY Graduate Centre, Global Centre for R2P
24 April 2014
New York City, USA

 
The CUNY Graduate Centre will host a briefing on the Congo on 24 April with Jason Stearns, who has been working on the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 2001. He has worked for MONUSCO (the UN Peacekeeping mission in the DRC), as a senior analyst for the International Crisis Group, and in 2008 led a UN investigation on conflict in eastern DRC.
 
For more information, click here.

Responsibility to Protect: From Principle to Practice
Finnish Institute of International Affairs
28 April 2014
Helsinki, Finland

 
The Finnish Institute will host a seminar with the aim of bringing together various experts and stakeholders to present and discuss policy options and challenges in implementing RtoP. They will discuss questions such as how civil society can contribute to human protection, and whether there is a risk for fragmented and diffuse approaches to RtoP. Dr. Jennifer Welsh, UN Special Adviser on RtoP, will be the keynote speaker.
 
For more information click here


Professional Training Program on the Prevention of Mass Atrocities
Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies
18-20 June 2014
Montreal, Canada

 
MIGS will host a training program for mid- to senior-level professionals and practitioners interested in the prevention and interdiction of mass atrocity crimes. MIGS has developed a series of thematic sessions and training modules presented by internationally-recognized experts in the field of human rights and international affairs.

For more information, click here
 
 

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