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ICRtoP Listserv
4 June 2010
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White House Mentions RtoP in May National Security Strategy, Human Rights Watch Letter to Secretary Clinton on Sri Lanka Investigation, Featured Reports, News Articles, and Upcoming Events.

I. White House Releases May 2010 National Security Strategy Referencing RtoP

1. US National Security Strategy mentions RtoP in strategy to prevent genocide and mass atrocity.

II. Human Rights Watch Letter to Secretary Clinton Regarding Sri Lanka War Crimes Inquiry

1. HRW appeals Clinton to push for an international investigation into 2009 violence

III. Featured Reports:

1. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum - Speech, Power, Violence: A Seminar of Experts
2. Yang Razali Kassim and Nur Azha Putra - The Responsibility to Protect: How Should South East Asia Respond?

IV. Featured News Articles:

1.“Southern Sudan: UN relief chief alarmed by rising violence”, UNNC
2. "PTC I informs UNSC about lack of cooperation by the Republic of the Sudan in Harun and Kushayb case", ICC Press Release
3. “Chad reassures UN on protection of civilians after peacekeepers withdraw”, UNNC
4. “Back Off Sri Lanka Inquiry, U.N. Chief Told”, IPS

V. Upcoming Events

1. Cambodia Workshop – 16-17 June 2010 – The Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect and the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace

I. White House Releases May 2010 National Security Strategy Referencing RtoP
1. US National Security Strategy mentions RtoP in strategy to prevent genocide and mass atrocity.

Overview:

The White House released its National Security Strategy (NSS) on 28 May 2010 The NSS includes a section on the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocity, with specific reference to the Responsibility to Protect, committing the Obama Administration to actively preventing and responding to instances of genocide and mass atrocity around the world.

Excerpts:

(…) Many of today’s challenges cannot be solved by one nation or even a group of nations. The test of our international
order, therefore, will be its ability to facilitate the broad and effective global cooperation necessary to meet 21st century challenges (…)

(…) The untold loss of human life, suffering, and property damage that results from armed conflict necessitates that all responsible nations work to prevent it. No single nation can or should shoulder the burden for managing or resolving the world’s armed conflicts. To this end, we will place renewed emphasis on deterrence and prevention by mobilizing diplomatic action, and use development and security sector assistance to build the capacity of at-risk nations and reduce the appeal of violent extremism. But when international forces are needed to respond to threats and keep the peace, we will work with international partners to ensure they are ready, able, and willing. We will continue to build support in other countries to contribute to sustaining global peace and stability operations, through U.N. peacekeeping and regional organizations, such as NATO and the African Union. (…)

(…) Prevent Genocide and Mass Atrocities: The United States and all member states of the U.N. have endorsed the concept of the “Responsibility to Protect.” In so doing, we have recognized that the primary responsibility for preventing genocide and mass atrocity rests with sovereign governments, but that this responsibility passes to the broader international community when sovereign governments themselves commit genocide or mass atrocities, or when they prove unable or unwilling to take necessary action to prevent or respond to such crimes inside their borders.

(…) In the event that prevention fails, the United States will work both multilaterally and bilaterally to mobilize diplomatic, humanitarian, financial, and—in certain instances—military means to prevent and respond to genocide and mass atrocities. (…)

Click here to download the full NSS.

1. HRW appeals Clinton to push for an international investigation into 2009 violence

Sri Lanka: New Panel Doesn’t Satisfy US Concerns
Human Rights Watch
27 May 2010

In advance of Secretary of State Clinton’s meeting with Sri Lanka Foreign Minister Gamini Lakshman Peiris, Human Rights Watch sent Secretary Clinton a letter urging the US government to push for an international investigation into war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE in 2009.

Excerpts from the letter:

(…) One year after the end of the armed conflict, Sri Lanka has failed to undertake any meaningful steps to investigate serious allegations of laws-of-war violations, despite repeated calls from the international community to do so. A commission of inquiry that Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa created on May 15, 2010, the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), is not empowered to investigate such allegations and seems designed to deflect international criticism rather than to uncover facts and ensure accountability.

Research conducted by Human Rights Watch and other organizations has established that both government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) committed grave violations of the laws of war during the decades-long internal armed conflict, which ended in May last year. Violations by both sides were particularly widespread during the last months of hostilities. According to a conservative United Nations estimate, 7,000 civilians were killed and more than 13,000 injured from January to May 2009.

The international community, including the United States, has on several occasions called upon the Sri Lankan government to comply with international law and investigate alleged violations and to hold perpetrators accountable. (…)

(…) However, one year after what the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs chief, John Holmes, described as a "bloodbath" in northern Sri Lanka, there has been no investigation or accountability for the widespread violations committed by government forces and the LTTE. High-ranking Sri Lankan officials continue to insist that no violations took place during the finals months of hostilities, dismissing overwhelming evidence as falsified or invented as part of a conspiracy against Sri Lanka.

(…) The LLRC is just the latest in a long line of ad hoc bodies in Sri Lanka that have failed to advance accountability for human rights abuses in Sri Lanka. Since independence in 1948, Sri Lanka has established at least nine such commissions and numerous other inquiries, none of which have produced any significant results. There is no reason to believe that this new commission will be any different.

We urge the US to state publicly that the Sri Lankan government has not fulfilled its obligation to investigate allegations of laws-of-war violations and that the new commission does not meet criteria set out by Ambassador Rice. The US should call on Secretary-General Ban to establish an independent international investigation without further delay. Given its seat on the Security Council, the US can play a crucial role in pressing for genuine accountability in Sri Lanka. The US played such a role in bringing about an important international investigation into the July 2009 massacre in Guinea.

A failure to hold the Sri Lankan government accountable for violations by its forces would send a dangerous signal that, when combating armed opposition groups and terrorism, international law can be flouted with impunity. The consequences for civilians caught up in such conflicts would be disastrous. (…)

Click here to read the full letter to Secretary Clinton from Human Rights Watch.


1. Speech, Power, Violence: A Seminar of Experts
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
May 2010

The following report was published after a seminar of experts came together in February 2009 at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to discuss the roles hate speech and propaganda play in violent conflicts where genocide and crimes against humanity occur.

What roles do hate speech and propaganda play in violent conflicts where genocide and crimes against humanity occur?
Do they influence people who are usually non-violent to commit acts of violence? Are they just one factor helping to create an environment where violence becomes more acceptable? How can the media have a positive or negative role in these conflicts?

In a groundbreaking interdisciplinary project, the Museum brought together leading experts to examine violence in Bosnia, Rwanda, Kenya and Guatemala and tackle these questions and others to reveal some key findings.

Click to download the Executive Summary, or here to visit the website to read more about the findings of the seminar.

2. Responsibility to Protect: How Should Southeast Asia Respond?
Yang Razali Kassim & Nur Azha Putra
S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies Publications
Commentaries
26 April 2010

Overview:

There are fundamental issues that have yet to be fully reconciled with the Responsibility to Protect. If RtoP is to be successfully implemented in country-specific scenarios, the principles of state sovereignty and the responsibility of the international community to protect human lives in situations of failing states must be reconciled. Despite the fact that the principle has gained significant traction around the globe, it must be endlessly clarified before it can capture international imagination.

Excerpts:

As a new and fledging doctrine in international relations, it is as contentious as it is revolutionary. This doctrine – the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) – may be slowly gaining traction but it remains immensely controversial. (…) The nub of the controversy is the inevitable clash between two principles: the sovereignty of states and the responsibility of the international community to protect human lives in situations of failing states.

(…) But the deep-seated attachment to the sanctified idea of sovereignty is still too strong for a warm embrace of RtoP: the fear of foreign interference in domestic affairs is overpowering. Indeed is feared, RtoP may be used to justify interference in the guise of international humanitarian intervention.

(…) The World Summit resolution notwithstanding, the fundamental tension between sovereignty and the responsibility to protect remains a critical hurdle. Not surprisingly, Ban Ki Moon, Annan’s successor as UN Secretary-General, tried to reconcile the seeming irreconcilable in the clever phrase – the “abiding principles of responsible sovereignty.

(…) The Singapore consultation on RtoP ended with a consensus that the doctrine should not be precluded from the Southeast Asian region. But how? Two issues repeatedly emerged. Firstly, how to convince Southeast Asian states to the adopt the three RtoP pillars as an integral package (…) Secondly, how to persuade Southeast Asian states to institutionalize the RtoP doctrine both at the national and ASEAN levels.
Unsurprisingly, the key impediment to RtoP in Southeast Asia is the fear of foreign interference. Southeast Asian states fear that RtoP would be taken as a license to intervene in their domestic affairs. There is also the underlying fear of RtoP leading to 21st century neocolonialism – a tool by the West to advance its economic agenda or even subjugate weak Asian states once again.

(…) Going forward, RtoP needs to be demystified. The misconceptions should be immediately addressed to promote human security as a global public good and thus a policy priority. To achieve this, the RtoP doctrine itself has to be clarified almost endlessly, if necessary. Although RtoP is slowly gaining ground, it is far from having capture public imagination is Southeast Asia.

Click here to read the full commentary.

1. “Southern Sudan: UN relief chief alarmed by rising violence”
United Nations News Centre
27 May 2010

The top United Nations humanitarian official arrived today in southern Sudan and expressed alarm at the threats to vulnerable people in the area posed by food insecurity, displacements and inter-tribal violence, which he called a “recipe for disaster.”

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes arrived yesterday in Sudan on his fifth official visit to Africa’s largest country, to assess conditions in the south, which is scheduled to hold a referendum on independence early next year as part of a 2005 peace accord that ended 20 years of civil war with the northern-based national Government.

(…)“Not only is disproportionately affecting women and children, it is also occurring in areas that are suffering lack of food and malnutrition, and where humanitarian agencies cannot reach,” Mr. Holmes said.

(…) “We know the situation in southern Sudan is posed to become more desperate over the coming months,” the Under-Secretary-General said. “The humanitarian community must gear up to respond to the needs from forced displacement and the deteriorating food security situation, working closely with the Government of Southern Sudan.”

(…) The official arrived in Sudan from Chad, where he was assured yesterday by that country’s President Idriss Déby that his Government will take responsibility to protect civilians, including the humanitarian community, as the UN prepares to end its peacekeeping mission there by the end of the year.

Click here to read the full story.

2. "PTC I informs UNSC about lack of cooperation by the Republic of the Sudan in Harun and Kushayb case"
International Criminal Court
Press Release
26 May 2010

On 25 May, 2010, Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) ordered the ICC Registrar to transmit the decision informing the United Nations Security Council about the lack of cooperation by the Republic of the Sudan in the case of the Prosecutor v. Ahmad Muhammad Harun (Ahmad Harun) and Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al Rahman (Ali Kushayb), in order for the Security Council to take any action it may deem appropriate.

Click here to read the full press release.
Click here to learn more about the crisis in Darfur and the RtoP on our website.

3. "Chad reassures UN on protection of civilians after peacekeepers withdraw"
United Nations News Centre
26 May 2010

Chadian President Idriss Déby today reiterated assurances that his Government will take responsibility to protect civilians, including the humanitarian community, as the United Nations prepares to end its peacekeeping mission there by the end of the year.

In a meeting with Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes in N'Djamena a day after the Security Council voted to end the UN mission in Chad and the Central African Republic (MINURCAT) in line with his request, Mr. Déby emphasized the need for support from the international community as the Government assumes this responsibility.

(…) Today Mr. Holmes and Mr. Déby stressed that more needs to be done in the west to put into place a better response despite initial efforts by the Government and the humanitarian community.
In a unanimously adopted resolution yesterday, the Council ordered that the military component of MINURCAT be reduced from its current 3,300 troops to 2,200 military personnel – 1,900 in Chad and 300 in the CAR – by 15 July. Withdrawal of the remaining troops will begin on 15 October, and all military and civilian personnel are to be withdrawn by 31 December.

(…) Earlier this month Mr. Holmes said he was “extremely worried” about the potential impact of a withdrawal on the civilians that the UN has been trying to help in eastern Chad but added, “We will have to deal with the situation as we find it.”

Click here to read the full article.

4. “Back Off Sri Lanka Inquiry, U.N. Chief Told”
Inter Press Service
Thalif Deen
27 May 2010

Sri Lanka's newly-appointed Foreign Minister Gamini Lakshman Peiris arrived in New York last week carrying a tough message for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: keep your hands off Sri Lanka.
The secretary-general's plans to appoint a panel of U.N. experts to advise him on human rights violations in post-conflict Sri Lanka are "unprecedented", Peiris declared.

(…) Peiris said Sri Lanka has already appointed its own Commission of Inquiry to investigate charges made against the military following its victory last May over a ruthless separatist movement fighting for a separate Tamil nation state.

(…) But several human rights groups and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Crisis Group, have been pushing the secretary-general to name the U.N. panel as soon as possible, although he has been dragging his feet over the last three months.

(…) Last week, the International Crisis Group not only faulted the United Nations for delaying the appointment of the panel but also called for an investigation of the U.N.'s own role in possible war crimes in Sri Lanka, including pulling out of its staff prematurely, not pushing for a ceasefire and encouraging surrenders that may have led to summary executions.

Click here to read the full article.

1. Cambodia Workshop
The Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect and the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace
16-17 June 2010

On 16-17 June, 2010, the Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect will host a two-day workshop at the Sunway Hotel, Phnom Penh, Cambodia that brings together stakeholders in order to gather their views, perceptions, and ideas on how to build national and regional R2P constituencies in Cambodia and Southeast Asia, respectively.
It is the first in a series of workshops on R2P constituency building that attempt to consult with public intellectuals, government and military officials in their private capacities, retired diplomats, civil society organization representatives, and people from the academe and research organizations that have an interest in understanding, debating, and/or advocating R2P principles in Cambodia and the region.

Click here for more information on the Workshop and the Cambodia Program.
 

 

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