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Launch of New Asia-Pacific Centre for Preventing Mass Atrocities

Bangkok, 20 February 2008

An independent Asia-Pacific Centre has been created to assist in ensuring the effective protection of populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. The 'Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect' was launched today in Bangkok at a meeting attended by representatives of think-tanks, NGOs and governments throughout the Asia-Pacific. The opening address was given by Dr Edward Luck, the Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General, who is working on the Responsibility to Protect and who expressed the Secretary-General's support for the Centre.

The various responsibilities of states and the international community to protect populations from mass atrocities is recognized by many as the most significant outcome of the largest ever meeting of heads of government - the 2005 World Summit.
The Centre will become a focal point for bringing together politicians, NGOs, government agencies and academics, especially in Asia, to develop viable policies and facilitate joint-protection initiatives to realize the commitments made by all governments in 2005. The Centre will also be responsible for a number of global initiatives, namely:

developing a workable early warning mechanism for predicting acts of genocide and mass atrocities;
developing a protection handbook for integrating civilian, military, non-governmental, and political efforts to protect civilians in armed conflict;
developing a definitive audit and on-going database of Responsibility to Protect (2P) initiatives around the world; and
editing a journal on the advancement and realization of R2P: Global Responsibility to Protect.

The Centre's Advisory Board will be composed of members from key regional countries, including China, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Australia. Patrons of the Centre include Fidel Ramos (former President of the Philippines), Ramesh Thakur (Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation), Gareth Evans (President of the International Crisis Group), John Dauth (former Australian Ambassador to the UN) and Colin Keating (former New Zealand Ambassador to the UN).

The Centre is an associate of the 'Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect', launched last week in New York. Other Associated Centres are being established by NGOs, academics and governments in Africa, Latin America and Europe.

For further information and comment:
Professor Alex Bellamy: +61 7 3365 3301; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (Executive Director of the Centre) or Alistair Gee: +61 417 672 650 (Chair, International Advisory Board of the Centre)

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