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19 December 2005 News Update

Dear Colleagues,

The R2PCS project has added useful information to our page to our website on the Protection of Civilians (POC) Resolution.

For general information, please visit:

For information on the open debate, please visit:

You may find specific government statements on R2P and the POC at:

Please find below excerpts of articles on the following:
- The POC debates in the Security Council, with UN humanitarian coordinator Jan Egeland and Oxfam International on the importance of including R2P in a strong resolution;
- Former US Ambassador to the UN John Danforths new vision for a risis Coalition to respond to humanitarian emergencies;
- Two articles on preventive action and different options for coalitions of the willing;
- Learning lessons from Bosnia on successful peacekeeping and prevention; and
- Gareth Evans on peacekeeping.
Angela Edman

Security Council urged not to weaken draft on protecting civilians in wars
Agence France Presse
December 9, 2005
UN relief aid coordinator Jan Egeland on Friday pleaded with the Security Council not to water down a draft resolution pledging collective action to protect civilians caught in warfare.
"The eyes and ears of the world community and human rights and humanitarian workers are on you," Egeland told the 15-member council during a briefing on protection of civilians in armed conflicts.
"This is not a time to weaken our joint resolve to protect those who need it most," he added.
He spoke as the council mulled a British-sponsored text that would commit the council to action to protect civilians caught in wars in line with a call by world leaders at their September summit here to enshrine "responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity."
The proposed draft "stresses the obligations of member states under international law to ensure the protection of refugees and internationally displaced persons, and urges member states ... to take more effective measures to ensure the protection of civilians from attack."
It would also condemn "in the strongest terms all sexual and other forms of violence against women and children in situations of armed conflict" and undertake "to ensure that all peace support operations are mandated to employ all feasible measures to prevent such violence."
But several council members were said to be trying to weaken or remove the reference to a responsibility to protect civilians from the draft.
"We have a good draft," Egeland told reporters. "This is not the time to end up with a weak resolution on the protection of civilians."
His fears were echoed by the International aid agency Oxfam, which charged that Russia, China, Algeria, Brazil and the United States were trying to water down the draft.
"Just three months ago we reached a turning point as world leaders declared they were willing to take collective action to protect people against genocide and prevent another Rwanda," said Nicola Reindorp, head of Oxfam's New York Office.
"Yet less than 90 days since the agreement was signed, China, Russia and Algeria seem to want to pretend the agreement was not made. The US is also trying to water down their responsibility to act to stop such crimes," she added
Link to full article unavailable

Danforth envisions a crisis coalition
The Kansas City Star
December 14, 2005
In his first foreign affairs speech since leaving the United Nations, former ambassador Jack Danforth on Tuesday suggested an alternative, armed coalition to respond to crises.
Danforth said a group of mostly Western countries, and possibly Japan, might best be able to respond to terrorism, rogue nations, genocide or ethnic cleansing.
"Who's responsible for world order when the dangers are very different from what they used to be?" Danforth asked. "Maybe something like NATO."
The United Nations, he said, simply acts too slowly and is too vulnerable to the whims of individual countries.
"The U.N. Security Council tends to be mush," said the former U.S. senator from St. Louis.
Danforth told about 600 people at a banquet marking the 50th anniversary of Kansas City's International Relations Council that he envisions a standing coalition with military capabilities that could respond more decisively.
"The status of the world today is collective insecurity," he said. "What is not a viable possibility is that we could do nothing to withstand the chaos around us.
"To do nothing in the face of chaos is to invite chaos."
For starters, Danforth said, the group of nations would need to be small and share the same principles and willingness to protect human rights - acting as a guard against terror and other forces threatening stability the way the North Atlantic Treaty Organization held ground against the Soviet Union after World War II.
While he has consistently supported the Bush administration's call to invade Iraq, he said continuing to tackle such problems with temporary "coalitions of the willing" sets up shaky alliances that could be doomed to collapse.
He noted that Spain pulled out of Iraq after terrorist train attacks in that country and that the Philippines withdrew after the taking of hostages.
Meanwhile, he said, the U.N. has been an often toothless institution. For example, when ethnic cleansing started in Kosovo in the late 1990s, the U.N. stood by and NATO had to step in. When genocide broke out in Rwanda, "the world, including the Security Council, stood and watched."
To reach Scott Canon, national correspondent, call (816) 234-4754 or send e-mail to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Our indifference to tyrants is no longer acceptable
Canberra Times (Australia)
By: Mirko Bagaric
December 7, 2005
The trial of Saddam should be used to put in place a clear framework regarding the obligation of the international community to prevent the mass slaughter of citizens by their own governments.
As international law currently stands, the main obstacle to getting rid of tyrants who kill thousands of their own citizens is state sovereignty.
However, this concept is overrated.
Invisible lines on the earth's surface have no moral standing, and can't trump moral standards which are of universal application.
In reality, the main disinclination to stop preventable mass killings of strangers in other parts of the world is that they are strangers and are in other parts of our world. It is true that the world (or parts of it) has, on rare occasions, "stepped up" and drawn a line in the sand and said "no" to despots, stopping them from more mass killings of their citizens.
Successful interventions include Vietnam's invasion of Cambodia in 1979; Tanzania's intervention to remove Idi Amin from Uganda in the same year and NATO's invasion of Yugoslavia in 1999. The success of these interventions and the absence of criticism of such action demonstrate that state sovereignty is no barrier to humanitarian interventions. In fact, it shows that respect for state sovereignty is an excuse, rather than a reason for the inaction of the world community.
At present, humanitarian intervention is adventitious, almost accidental or even opportunistic in nature.
It is time for a fundamental global re-think to this approach. Humanitarian intervention should be transformed into a duty upon the world's nations. Human life, especially when there are thousands at stake, is too important to leave to chance. If this problem is not expressly addressed now, legal and social commentators are likely to be addressing the same issue into the 22nd Century.
We should not wait until then. It is only reasonable to believe that waiting will result in future generations seeking solutions while lamenting the killing of another 170 million or more people by their own government. Surely, one century with 170 million preventable deaths is sufficient reason to seriously consider fundamental reform of the global approach to government-sponsored killings of their own people.
So when is humanitarian intervention appropriate? This is not difficult. Humanitarian intervention should be mandatory in cases of large-scale government-sanctioned killings. The Security Council should be given the authority and responsibility to muster Coalitions of the Willing, perhaps selected by ballot, to supply the necessary resources. If it fails in its role, citizens from countries ruled by despots should be conferred automatic citizenship rights to Security Council member nations -nothing like self interest to stimulate action.
There's a job already waiting for the Security Council.
It should start by sending in troops to Sudan, where the Sudanese government is in the process of slaughtering and driving out thousands of members of the Zaghawa, Masalit and Fur tribes in the Dafur region of Sudan, through its instruments, the Janjaweed militias.
Since February 2003, more than 200,000 people have been killed and more than two million people have been forced to flee their homes. The United Nations, naturally, has been furiously debating whether this constitutes genocide.
Situations like this will no doubt continue to arise until humanitarian intervention is transformed from an expedient accident to a categorical imperative. Unless this occurs, the rest of the world should also stand in the dock when the next dictator happens to find himself in court.
Professor Mirko Bagaric is head of Deakin Law School. This is an edited summary of his paper "Transforming Humanitarian Intervention from an Expedient Accident to a Categorical Imperative" (2005), Brooklyn Journal of International Law.

Preventive war, a useful tool
Los Angeles Times
December 4, 2005
By: Ivo Daalder and James Steinberg
A high-level panel appointed by the United Nations secretary-general in response to the Bush doctrine concluded that states have a right to defend themselves not just against actual threats but against imminent ones. It also recognized that force might be appropriate to deal with latent threats (such as terrorism and weapons proliferation), but only the Security Council could authorize its use. The panel contended that Bush's idea of preemption was a recipe for international anarchy.
Welcome as this evolution in international thinking was, it failed to resolve the fundamental difference between today's security threats and those at the time of the U.N.'s founding in 1945. Then, states worried about aggression across borders and external interference in their affairs. Now the main worry is about what states do within their borders -- how they treat their citizens, whether they harbor terrorists or if they are developing weapons of mass destruction.
The U.N. system was not set up to deal with these types of threats, which helps explain why there is no international consensus on what constitutes the new threats and how best to respond to them. Yet the U.S. shouldn't therefore ignore the rules and go it alone. Rather, it should work toward adapting the rules to a world in which sovereignty increasingly depends on how states behave internally.
Conditional sovereignty is central to a new norm of state responsibility. In September, U.N. members embraced the idea that states have a responsibility to protect their citizens from genocide and other gross violations of human rights. That logic also suggests that states have a responsibility to head off internal developments -- acquiring weapons of mass destruction and harboring terrorists, to name two -- that pose a threat to the security of others.
When states fail to meet their responsibilities, the international community will need to step in. Diplomacy and economic pressure are frequently sufficient to do the job. But there will be times when limited military action will be the only effective way to obviate an imminent threat -- before, say, a state produces enough fissile material to make nuclear weapons or before terrorists are fully able to hatch their plots. One problem with the Bush doctrine, then, is not that it is overly reliant on preventive force but that it too narrowly conceives of its use, primarily to deal with terrorism and to remove threatening regimes.
The Bush doctrine's other problem is that it insists that individual states, or at least the United States, must have the right to decide when preventive force is justified, even though the threat affects the security of many. The decision to use force in these cases cannot be one state's alone.
Who, then, should decide? The Security Council, at least in the first instance, because it has become the most legitimate forum for deciding these questions
Yet states have not always been able to count on the council to make timely decisions
One alternative to the Security Council is to turn to regional organizations to authorize preventive interventions. The model here is Kosovo, where the North Atlantic Treaty Organization intervened to prevent a worse humanitarian calamity even though the Security Council failed to authorize the action. Regional organizations are an appealing venue because there is likely to be convergence between those who bear the costs and those who reap the benefits of the action. When all countries in a region agree to the necessity and efficacy of a preventive action, there is a greater chance that the precipitating facts will be valid.
Regional organizations are no panacea, however. Global threats are beyond the purview of any one regional organization to handle. In other cases, there may be no meaningful regional organization to authorize force. Which leaves the alternative of creating a coalition of like-minded states. One such coalition could be composed of democracies, because democracies should have an interest in upholding the norm of state responsibility.
Because these governments are elected, their collective decision to use force would carry more legitimacy than a decision of any one of them. And if it proved impossible to convince any or most of the coalition's democratic peers that a state had failed to meet its responsibilities and that intervention was therefore justified, that outcome in and of itself should give pause about proceeding. Iraq was a case in point. Finally, the existence of an alternative decision-making body may prompt the Security Council or a regional organization to act sooner.
Preventive military force has a role in managing today's security challenges. Understanding that role is step one; establishing agreed standards for its use is step two; and implanting these standards in an effective institution is the third step. The Bush administration got the first step right, and the logic of its arguments builds toward the second. But it has gotten step three wrong. Unilateralism is not the only alternative to the Security Council. Regional organizations and a new coalition of democratic states offer ways to legitimize the use of force when the council fails to meet its responsibilities.
Ivo Daalder is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. James Steinberg, a vice president at Brookings, is dean at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Policy at the University of Texas. An expanded version of this article appears in the Winter 2005 issue of the American Interest.,0,5392752.story?coll=la-sunday-commentary

Europe must learn the lessons of Bosnian war: senior diplomats
Agence France Presse -- English
November 25, 2005
By: Lorne Cook
Europe must learn the tough lessons from the war in Bosnia or be doomed to repeat them elsewhere, senior diplomats involved in the Balkan conflict 10 years ago warned on Friday
"There are new challenges around the corner of the same nature waiting for us," Carl Bildt, EU special representative to the region in 1995, told experts, reporters and other participants at a conference in Brussels on Bosnia's 1992-1995 war
"We need to learn the lessons from Bosnia: be very assertive in preventing the conflicts from breaking out, looking at the underlying currents, trying to settle with reasonable political deals, and the possibility to deploy military force to support diplomacy," he went on.
"Then have the resources, the commitment, the patience and the time that is going to be needed for the state-building projects ... all through this period."
The former British foreign secretary said that "hard peacekeeping" -- in which a robust military presence enforces peace and exits quickly to be replaced by traditional peacekeepeers -- was also vital in dealing with conflicts.
"Hard peacekeeping must be done when you're really serious and I doubt that it's something for the EU or for the UN. I believe that is really going to be done by NATO or other regional military alliances," he said.
Solana, who was Spanish foreign minister at the time and later led NATO, said that politicians need to act together closely with the military as soon as a potential conflict is identified.
"A clear lesson from the Balkan dramas is that when the European Union, the United States and NATO are united and work together, they can achieve great things," he said.
He said the fact that this was done so late in Bosnia resulted in tens of thousands of needless deaths.
"The price of nationalism and our collective failure to end the fighting was very high," he said. "We got peace, yes, and ended the nightmare, yes, but a peace that came late and was full of painful compromises."
And on the day that Bosnia begins talks on a stabilisation accord with the EU, a first step on the long road to joining the bloc, he said hopes for membership had been a decisive factor.
"The prospect of eventual European Union membership has been no doubt the overwhelming transformational force in Bosnia," he said.
In the end though, Bildt said, prevention is far better than a cure.
"In retrospect the number one lesson of the Bosnian war is that we should have done more in order to prevent it from starting at all," he said.
Link to full article unavailable

By And Large, Peacekeeping Efforts Work
By: Gareth Evans
Financial Times Information
Global News Wire - Asia Africa Intelligence Wire
Gulf News
November 26, 2005
As we mark the 10th anniversary of the Dayton accords that ended the war in Bosnia, it must seem to most Americans that the world hasn't really learned much, then or since, about how to prevent and resolve deadly conflict But there is. Contrary to what just about everybody instinctively believes, there has been a dramatic decrease in the number of conflicts, down 40% since the early 1990s. There were just 25 armed secessionist conflicts under way in 2004
The number of mass killings has fallen 80% since the late 1980s
There are many reasons for these turnarounds. They include the end of the era of colonialism, the aftermath of which generated two-thirds or more of all wars from the 1950s to the 1980s. The end of the Cold War meant no more proxy wars fuelled by Washington or Moscow and it also hastened the demise of a number of authoritarian governments that each side had been propping up and that had generated significant internal resentment and resistance.
But the best explanation is the one that stares us in the face: the huge increase in international efforts to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts.
The best stories are the ones that do not reach the evening news: the dogs that never barked. Using the hard lessons learned from the disastrous days of the early 1990s in places such as Bosnia, Rwanda and Somalia, the international community is much better now than it ever used to be at preventing conflict.
Increased sixfold
Between 1990 and 2002, the number of UN diplomatic missions aimed at stopping wars before they started increased sixfold, according to the Human Security report. Although sometimes an imperfect tool, economic sanctions against abusive regimes around the world increased elevenfold between 1989 and 2003. Early and sensible action in places such as Burundi, Indonesia and Macedonia has kept most Americans blissfully unaware that these were countries that recently veered away from the large-scale violence that has plagued them in the past.
Liberia's recent presidential election was a one-day news story about people peacefully voting after years of bloodshed. But only a successful peacekeeping mission made it so. A catastrophic new civil war looked certain to erupt in Somalia this year, with a misguided decision by neighbouring governments to intervene militarily in support of one side of an internal political dispute. But organisations such as mine rang the alarm bells and there was a flurry of diplomatic activity in Nairobi, Addis Ababa and New York. Wiser heads prevailed, no intervention occurred, no war broke out and because "nothing happened," nobody noticed.
For every roadside bomb in Baghdad, international peacekeepers in places such as Bosnia, Kosovo, East Timor and Sierra Leone have quietly gone about their duties in work that seems now almost routine. Between 1998 and 2004, the number of UN peacekeeping operations more than doubled.
Regional organisations in Europe, the Americas and Africa have also become much more forceful in standing up and taking action against intolerable abuses against civilians, helping to limit conflicts before they spread out of control. Max van der Stoel, Europe's former high commissioner on national minorities, deserves the Nobel Peace Prize for stopping as many as a dozen major ethnic and language-based conflicts from breaking out across Europe, from the Baltics to Romania.
One of the abiding lessons from the Balkans conflict was that the international community can be effective when it works together. Before the US and Europe coordinated their approach in Bosnia, the situation was a bloody mess, the international response was ineffectual and the world was looking at a failed, lawless state in the middle of Europe. When both sides of the Atlantic did pull together, things changed dramatically.
There has also been an emerging consensus on the international community's responsibility to protect civilians at grave risk. This has helped bridge the gap between those who want to defend traditional principles of state sovereignty and those who assert an international right to intervene in humanitarian crises
Gareth Evans, foreign minister of Australia from 1988 to 1996, is president and chief executive of the International Crisis Group.,%20but%20it%20works&articleId=0060dce2-c8c6-4782-9229-11e927d8fc5f

Angela Edman

Program Associate

Responsibility to Protect-Engaging Civil Society Project


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