Event Summary: The Role of Human Rights, Development Assistance, and Peacekeeping: Building State Capacity for Atrocities Prevention
International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect, The Stanley Foundation, The Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation, and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
4 September 2014
On September 8, 2014, the United Nations General Assembly held its 6th annual informal inter- active dialogue on the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP, R2P) on the theme of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Report “Fulfilling our Collective Responsibility: International Assistance and the Responsibility to Protect.” The dialogue convened Member States, regional bodies and civil society to deliberate on the report, which focuses on RtoP’s “second pillar,” or the international community’s responsibility to assist states to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing. In preparation for the dialogue, the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect, and the Stanley Foundation convened an expert panel to further explore three elements of RtoP’s second pillar, namely the role of human rights mechanisms and actors to encourage and assist states to prevent atrocity crimes; the impact of development assistance in building state capacity to uphold protection obligations; and the impact of temporary international assistance through the use of peacekeeping and stabilization operations to assist states under stress.
The panel discussion was chaired by Patrick Travers, a consultant for the UN Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, and featured Christen Broecker, Associate Director and Director of Research at the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights; Lawrence Woocher, Senior Atrocity Prevention Fellow at United States Agency for Inter- national Development; and Alison Giffen, Senior Associate and Co-Director of Future of Peace Operations Program at The Stimson Center. More than 60 civil society representatives, diplomats, and UN officials attended the forum. (…)
During the discussion portion of the event, panelists tackled questions on an array of issues, including how to enhance early warning systems for prevention and how best to ensure that development actors and the international community are credible. “Credibility,” said Woocher, “comes from consistency.” This includes repeated messaging in both the public and private spheres. For Giffen, providing dispute resolution for inter-communal violence and working with communities to recognize what is happening on the local level can bolster early warning efforts.
In closing the event, Patrick Travers highlighted the many themes that emerged from the discussion, including the importance of early action, the need for better pre-deployment training of peacekeepers, and the critical importance of enhanced information sharing and cooperation among actors at all levels. Pillar two is both prevention and response, he said, the lines between them are blurred. “This transition is an area that needs a lot of attention,” he said.
Read the full summary here.