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R2P Ideas in Brief: ASEAN and the UN GA Dialogue on the SG’s Report on Timely and Decisive Response (Vol. 2 No. 7)
Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
30 August 2012
The interactive dialogue in the UN GA on 5 September is a good opportunity for member states to openly discuss the third pillar of R2P (timely and decisive response) in dealing with mass atrocities. In the aftermath of the UN Security Council’s resolutions on Libya and the continuing crisis in Syria, the application of the principle has generated a number of concerns and controversies, including accountability in using coercive measures while protecting civilians, as well as the relationship between R2P and regime change.
Thus far, the discourse on Pillar 3 has been dominated by the P5 and emerging powers in the UN, especially after the Libyan crisis. The views of developing states, particularly from the Asia Pacific, also need to be heard, and the UN GA interactive dialogue in September provides an important opportunity for them to present their response to the SG’s Report. Specifically, the concerns and views of countries from the region about timely and decisive response to mass atrocities need to be articulated.
In 2009, five members of ASEAN participated in the first interactive dialogue on R2P in the UN GA. Since then,no member state of ASEAN has participated in subsequent UN GA dialogue over the last two years. It is important to note, however, that a good majority of the members of ASEAN have participated in debates that saw relevant resolutions condemning systematic violations of human rights in Syria passed in the UN GA (February 2012 and more recently on 3 August 2012) and the UN Human Rights Council (June 2012). This clearly indicates that for a number of ASEAN members, the ongoing mass atrocities in Syria remain a serious international security problem. Thus, ASEAN members should seriously consider participating in this year’s interactive dialogue on the SG’s Report in order to:
1) reaffirm their commitment to the R2P principleas embodied in paragraphs 138-139 of the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document ;
2) articulate their views about Pillar 3, including their concerns about coercive measures in implementing R2P as well as the constraints and lessons learned by individual countries from the crises in Libya and Syria;
3) contribute to ongoing discussions/debate about Responsibility while Protecting (RwP) as proposed by Brazil.
This year’s UN GA dialogue on timely and decisive response should also encourage ASEAN members to exercise their diplomatic leverage to ensure that the P5 take their responsibility to protect obligations seriously, echoing the strong balance of opinion in the recent 3 August 2012 UN GA resolution on Syria.
Read the full brief.

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