Statement by the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect at the Human Rights Council Side-Event on the Responsibility to Protect
Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
Naomi Kikoler, Director of Policy and Advocacy
19 June 2012
(…) It is worth underscoring that at the core of the Responsibility to Protect (or R2P) lies the responsibility to prevent. Sixty-seven years after the liberation of Auschwitz prevention remains the least understood aspect of the Responsibility to Protect. Domestic, regional and international actors continue to respond too little and too late to the risk of mass atrocity crimes. 
We know that prevention can work. In Guinea, sustained and coordinated engagement by local, regional and international actors using a range of measures that included meditation and targeted sanctions averted mass atrocity crimes and saved lives. (…)
Unfortunately successful preventive cases such as Guinea are far too rare. We believe that the Human Rights Council has a critical role to play in rectifying this failure.
The Human Rights Council can do so through three core functions:
1.Providing early warning of the risk of mass atrocity crimes.
2.Urging states to take preventive action in accordance with their Responsibility to Protect.
3.Employing tools at the Human Rights Council’s disposal such as issuing resolutions and
mandating the creation of Commission of Inquiries to document and investigate
allegations of mass atrocity crimes. (…)
As part of the guidance to states, we would encourage the Human Rights Council to urge
governments to do three things:
1.Re-affirm their commitment to R2P.
2.Undertake a review of their existing preventive and protective capacities.
3.Appoint a senior high-level government official as a national Focal Point for the
Responsibility to Protect.
Launched in 2010 and coordinated by the Governments of Australia, Costa Rica, Denmark and Ghana, with support from the Global Centre for Responsibility to Protect, Focal Points are responsible for the promotion of R2P at the national level and will work to support international cooperation on the issue through participating in a global network. (…)
Over 30 governments representing every region/continent participated in the first meeting of Focal Points held in May 2011. Since then, support for the initiative has continued to grow. (…)
Sixty-seven years after the liberation of Auschwitz we are finally beginning to craft an international mass atrocity prevention agenda. The appointment of Focal Points is a key component of that agenda and an initiative that we encourage the Human Rights Council to advance and member states to embrace.
Read full statement.