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Pledge 2 Protect: ICRtoP and Coalition Member IRR participate in genocide-prevention 2-day conference

6-9 November 2009
Plenary Session at Pledge 2 Protect Conference
Courtesy of Save Darfur Coalition

The Pledge2protect conference took place 6-9 November 2009 in Washington, DC on Capitol Hill. Seeking to “create an experience for participants that would empower them to become stronger leaders on their campuses and in their communities”, participants attended workshops and panel discussions on crises and themes around genocide prevention. The Conference was organized by the Genocide Intervention Network and its student-led division STAND, the Save Darfur Coalition, the Enough Project, and the United States Campaign for Burma and was attended by more than 700 participants. The ICRtoP participated as a partner and had the opportunity to engage participants on RtoP and how to use the norm in advocacy on genocide-prevention. Other partners included Campus Progress, Investors Against Genocide, and Jewish World Watch.     .

Workshop on Sudan with Allyson Neville, Sean Brooks, Jerry Fowler and John Prendergast 
courtesy of Save Darfur Coalition
The conference opened with a discussion on the recommendations of the Genocide Prevention Task Force, where leading experts called on civil society groups to pressure the US into making the implementation of these recommendations a priority. Notably, Juan Mendez, former UN special advisor on the prevention of genocide, told conference attendees that the implementation of RtoP should be a priority at the UN and pointed to the need to strengthen UN early-warning mechanisms and ensuring that all leaders are held accountable to their populations. Mr. Mendez recognized that States should not use their veto power in situations of genocide and mass atrocities, but at the same time implementing RtoP should not hinge on Security Council reform. 
Breakout sessions were held on a variety of topics: one explored existing international norms and institutions to address genocide prevention, and discussed RtoPand how to build international political will. Other sessions discussed current crises in Sudan, DRC and Burma, including on sexual and gender-based violence and current international efforts to protect civilians. Olivia Bueno from the International Refugee Rights Initiative and the Darfur Consortium –also steering committee member of the ICRtoP—participated in a panel called The International Movement on Sudan: A Conversation with Global Advocacy Leaders. She shared the importance of collaboration with civil society at the international level and the need for international justice. The conference was an incredible opportunity to spread awareness about RtoP and discuss with US and world experts what civil society and students can do to prevent and end mass atrocities. 
Read the press release published by G.I. Net on the conference and the lobby day.

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