10 October 2012
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1. Twenty-four governments reference RtoP during General Assembly Opening Plenary Debate
2. 10 September Joint letter from the ICRtoP and the Global Centre for R2P on the relationship between the Responsibility to Protect and the Rule of Law
3. 28 September Ministerial Meeting on the Responsibility to Protect: Joint Press Release by the Governments of Botswana, Brazil, Denmark, & the Netherlands
1. 29 September Joint Press Release by the Governments of Australia, Costa Rica, Denmark and Ghana
1. World Federation of UN Associations and the Indian Federation of UN Associations –Conference on R2P in New Delhi: The Responsibility to Protect, What’s Next?
2. Global Action to Prevent War –Joan B. Kroc Institute Event Summary,Breaking Barriers: What it will take to achieve security, justice and peace
3. Stanley Foundation Policy Brief by Dr. Pauline Baker –Getting Along: Managing Diversity for Atrocity Prevention in Socially Divided Societies
1. Roméo Dallaire with Andrew Coleman, National Post –Picking the path of peace when we intervene overseas
2. Pavin Chachavalpongpun, Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies Report –Responsibility to Protect in Southeast Asia: Enlarging Space for Civil Society
1. Twenty-four governments reference RtoP during GA Opening Plenary Debate
25 September -1 October 2012
The 67th Session of the General Assembly opened in September 2012 with a General Debate among Heads of State and Government from 25 September - 1 October with the theme “Adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations by peaceful means.” Many Member States also participated in High-Level meetings on such themes as Rule of Law, Sustainable Energy, and Countering Nuclear Terrorism.
Addressing Member States during the debate on 25 September 2012, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reminded governments that, “It is the duty of our generation to put an end to impunity for international crimes (…) It is our duty to give tangible meaning to the responsibility to protect.”
The Secretary-General was joined by twenty-four governments from around the world, all of whom mentioned the responsibility to protect in their interventions to the General Assembly. Many of these states not only reiterated the consensus that governments and the international community have a collective responsibility to ensure that populations are protected from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing, but also highlighted the norm in the context of country cases and other issues related to human security and governance.
The speakers who directly mentioned the Responsibility to Protect in their remarks to the General Assembly included: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and the delegations from: Bahrain; Belarus; Belgium; Botswana; Brazil; Costa Rica; Côte d’Ivoire; Croatia; Denmark; Estonia; Libya; Liechtenstein; Montenegro; Poland; Romania; Russia; Slovenia; South Africa; Sudan; Syria; the Netherlands; Turkey; Uruguay; Zimbabwe.
The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect also published a compilation of excerpted statements which mentioned the Responsibility to Protect, country cases where populations have been or are threatened by RtoP crimes and other related themes, including concerns over the use of force, the focal points network, accountability and mass atrocities, the UN Security Council veto, and regime change. You can find the full statements from these delegations on the ICRtoP website.
2. Joint letter from the ICRtoP and the Global Centre for R2P on the relationship between the Responsibility to Protect and the rule of law
10 September 2012
The International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect and the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect sent the following letter jointly to Member States in the General Assembly ahead of the high-level meeting on the rule of law, was held during the 67th Session of the General Assembly on 24 September 2012. This was the first meeting on the Rule of Law convened by the General Assembly.
(…) We are writing on behalf of the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect and the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect to encourage your government to recognize the link between the rule of law, the subject of the upcoming high-level meeting during the 67th Session of the General Assembly, and the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP, R2P), an international norm endorsed by Member States at the 2005 World Summit.
Three of the crimes included under the Responsibility to Protect - genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity - are covered by human rights and humanitarian treaty laws in the international order, including the Geneva and Genocide Conventions and the Rome Statute. These laws, established to respond to the most egregious crimes known to human kind, have been dramatically reinforced by the development of special and ad-hoc tribunals and the International Criminal Court. The Responsibility to Protect, as it was endorsed in paragraphs 138-139 of the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document, further strengthened states’ and the international community’s responsibility to prevent and, if necessary, respond, to threats of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing. Taken together, these treaty laws, new institutions and the affirmation of the Responsibility to Protect represent a major advance in the fundamental purposes of the UN Charter.
Strengthening the rule of law reinforces the notion of “sovereignty as responsibility”, the conceptual foundation of the Responsibility to Protect, by which a state’s legitimacy is reinforced when it provides for the fundamental rights of its populations. Accordingly, rule of law measures that can deter and stop mass atrocity crimes are numerous, and include: ensuring that domestic laws respect diversity and protect the human rights of all individuals without discrimination; promoting the peaceful resolution of disputes; providing access to legal, security and judicial services for vulnerable groups including women, children and minorities who are disproportionately affected by atrocity crimes; and enacting legislation and strengthening national and regional judicial institutions to hold perpetrators of such crimes accountable.
States can further enhance the rule of law by strengthening international mechanisms and institutions, including by supporting commissions of inquiry and fact-finding missions that seek to uncover facts related to alleged crimes. Supporting international and hybrid criminal tribunals, including ratifying the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, can help ensure accountability for mass atrocity crimes committed. Throughout all of these efforts, as member states and the United Nations work to assist others with strengthening the rule of law, they are working to support the Responsibility to Protect framework.
The ICRtoP and GCR2P recognize the intrinsic relationship between the rule of law and the Responsibility to Protect, and respectively encourage your government to reflect upon this relationship in your remarks during the upcoming meeting.
See the full letter.
3.Joint Press Release by the Governments of Botswana, Brazil, Denmark, & the Netherlands: Ministerial Meeting on the Responsibility to Protect –Deepening our Commitment to Mass Atrocity Prevention
Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
28 September 2012
This morning the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Botswana, H.E. Mr. Phandu T. C. Skelemani, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Denmark, H.E. Mr. Villy Søvndal, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, H.E. Dr. U. Rosenthal, and the Vice-Minister for Political Affairs of the Ministry of External Relations of the Federative Republic of Brazil, H.E. Ms. Vera Lúcia Barrouin Crivano Machado, in association with the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, co-hosted a ministerial breakfast on “Responsibility to Protect: Deepening our Commitment to Mass Atrocity Prevention.”
The meeting was attended by 15 ministers representing governments from across the globe. The Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, H.E. Mr. Jan Eliasson, and the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Mr. Adama Dieng, also participated in the meeting.
The principle of the Responsibility to Protect has come a long way since 2005. The commitment to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing has now become an operational reality. In keeping with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s declaration of 2012 as the year of prevention, the aim of this year’s Ministerial Roundtable was to discuss how we can operationalize the preventive dimension of the Responsibility to Protect, and deepen our understanding of effective responses to the threat of mass atrocities.
This morning’s meeting discussed the full range of preventive options, including long term structural measures such as good governance, human rights, the promotion of socioeconomic development and the national R2P Focal Points initiative. Short term operational components of prevention were also considered, including early warning, mediation and preventive diplomacy.
The Brazilian concept of “Responsibility while Protecting” was discussed and debated as a positive contribution. Discussions also addressed different lessons from various mass atrocity crisis situations.
The co-hosts remain engaged to promoting and broadening the discussions on the principle of the Responsibility to Protect, including through the concept of the Responsibility while Protecting, given the challenge posed by the urgent need to protect civilians at grave risk of mass atrocity crimes. They look forward to the annual informal interactive dialogue on Responsibility to Protect in the 67th session of the General Assembly. (…)
Read the full release.
1. Joint Press Release by the Governments of Australia, Costa Rica, Denmark and Ghana regarding Second Annual Meeting of the Network of National R2P Focal Points
Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
29 September 2012
The governments of Australia, Costa Rica, Denmark and Ghana hosted the second meeting of national Focal Points for Responsibility to Protect (R2P) on 29 September 2012 in New York, in association with the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect.
The meeting was attended by representatives of 36 countries. At the meeting, participants renewed their commitment to uphold R2P and establish domestic institutions to prevent mass atrocity crimes and protect populations. Participants also discussed the need to collaborate internationally through a global network of the national R2P Focal Points.
At the close of the 2005 United Nations World Summit, states agreed that they have a responsibility to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, and to prevent these crimes. A national R2P Focal Point is a senior official who will facilitate the creation of national and sub-national mechanisms for atrocity prevention and who will promote international cooperation by participating in the global network.
The national R2P Focal Points initiative was launched in 2010 by the governments of Denmark and Ghana in collaboration with the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. Since then the governments of Australia and Costa Rica have joined the facilitating group. At the present time 17 countries, representing all regions of the world, have appointed R2P Focal Points within their governments.
At the second meeting, recently appointed national R2P Focal Points discussed their role based on their specific national contexts. Participants exchanged ideas on how to better coordinate future efforts to increase capacities to assess risks, warn against, prevent and halt mass atrocities, including through national outreach and educational efforts. They recognized the value of developing a global network of national R2P Focal points, shared viewpoints on the way forward, and resolved to hold periodic meetings of the global network. The next meeting of national R2P Focal Points will be held in 2013. (…)
Read full release.
1. Conference on R2P in New Delhi: The Responsibility to Protect – What’s Next?
World Federation of UN Associations and the Indian Federation of UN Associations
8 October 2012
On Monday, October 8 WFUNA and the Indian Federation of United Nations Associations (IFUNA)invited civil society members, academics and UN and government officials to a day-long Conference on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P)in New Delhi, India. This event was a follow up to the Symposium Series WFUNA held in 2011 and the beginning of 2012 in Kenya, China and Venezuela in conjunction with the Government of Sweden which looked at the Responsibility to Protect and its added value to mass atrocity prevention framework. (…) Over 60 participants from nearly all states in India, including Ambassadors and government representatives from Denmark, Norway, UK, the Arab League and Tunisia, and 10 media outlets turned up for the day.
The Conference took up the theme of this year's General Assembly Informal Dialogue on R2P which focused on third pillar measures. (…) Under the premise that India as an emerging and influential power should play a larger, more pro-active and constructive role in the debate on implementing R2P the Conference sought to ask key members of the UN community, civil society members and government officials if, when and how it is suitable for the international community to intervene to protect civilians from mass atrocities. (…)
There was no doubt that all agreed that prevention was the best policy yet understood that in situations of mass atrocity the international community has a responsibility to act. Concerns were raised over the “'double standards” in applicability of R2P and the concept of sovereignty was heavily debated. Many participants and panelists identified the current structure of the Security Council, and in particular the veto power, as the main prohibitor in effectively implementing R2P and called for UN reform. It was clear from both the panellists and audience that it is essential that India plays a larger role in the debates. Advocacy and awareness raising was cited a number of times as important for pushing the norm forward in a more effective way. This can only be achieved by reaching out and providing increased knowledge on the issue to key stakeholders - politicians, policy makers, academics, civil society and media. (…)
Read more about the conference.
Read an article on the event from India Blooms News Service, India can play a larger role for world peace.
2. Joan B. Kroc InstituteEvent Summary - Breaking Barriers: What it will take to achieve security, justice and peace
Global Action to Prevent War
22 September 2012
In its fifth International Working Conference, the Joan B. Kroc Institute of Peace and Justice hosted a two-day event on 26 September entitled “Breaking Barriers: What will it take to achieve Security, Justice and Peace.” This year’s conference was unique in that the University of San Diego was also celebrating its tenth anniversary of its “Women PeaceMakers Program.” The conference was co-convened by the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, the Nobel Women’s Initiative, UN Women, Women’s Initiative for Gender Justice, Women’s Learning Partnership, and World Pulse.
The conference provided an opportunity for experts and “Women Peacemakers” to engage in discussions on how to ensure that institutions work for women, how to improve protection strategies targeting women, how to better define transitional justice means for women’s rights, and to identify factors for addressing extremism and radicalization.
GAPW also participated in the conference by facilitating a workshop on integrating women’s perspectives into the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) framework. The workshop highlighted the need for women’s active participation in the design and implementation of prevention and protection strategies. The workshop also encouraged more discussions and analysis to ensure that R2P is invoked in situations when instances of conflict-related sexual violence amount to mass atrocity crimes. (…)
Read the full post.
Read more about the Breaking Barriers conference.
3. Getting Along: Managing Diversity for Atrocity Prevention in Socially Divided Societies
Dr. Pauline Baker
The Stanley Foundation
Dr. Pauline H. Baker is president emeritus and board trustee of The Fund for Peace.
(…) Most proposals for preventing mass atrocities and genocide in conflict-affected states tend to focus on externally generated diplomatic, economic, or military interventions. For earlier and more durable long-term prevention, attention needs to be given to internal measures that can make political systems more responsive to diverse constituencies.
Based on the experiences of Nigeria and South Africa, this paper examines how states may promote a greater level of protection against the threat of mass-atrocity violence. An atrocity-prevention lens is used to consider how diversity might be effectively managed through inclusive political processes, institutional mechanisms, and governance policies.
In structuring political participation and processes, the governments of Nigeria and South Africa have taken proactive measures designed to diffuse intergroup tensions and encourage national unity. Not all of these measures have succeeded in reducing tensions; some, in fact, exacerbated tensions, though perhaps unintentionally. (…)
It is important to note at the outset that the issue of political structuring and diversity management is relevant to all heterogeneous societies. (…) Yet, importantly, not all societies with racial, ethnic, or religious divisions experience mass atrocities.
Nigeria and South Africa have faced such challenges and have taken different paths to diversity management. Their stories illustrate the benefits, risks, and other consequences that may arise from such efforts. This analysis provides insights that could be useful not only for other states grappling with similar problems but for peace builders, state builders, and countries adopting strategies consistent with pillar two of the Responsibility to Protect framework to “assist states under stress” before atrocity threats and crises develop. (…)
Read the full policy brief.
Read another recent policy brief from the Stanley Foundation, written by David J. Simon, Building State Capacity to Prevent Atrocity Crimes: Implementing Pillars One and Two of the R2P Framework, which was featured in the most recent ICRtoP listserv.
1. Picking the path of peace when we intervene overseas
Roméo Dallaire with Andrew Coleman
25 September 2012
Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire is a Canadian senator and a Senior Fellow at the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies. He formerly served as Force Commander of UNAMIR, the UN peacekeeping force for Rwanda, between 1993 and 1994.
The Canadian government recently severed its diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran. (…) But Iran has not seen 20,000 civilians (and counting) massacred within the last year, nor is it embroiled in a civil war that threatens to destabilize the entire region. That would be Syria. And while the crises are different, what is similar is our inability to produce a resolution.
That is why it is so difficult to answer the question, “Should Canada intervene to protect gross violations of human rights?” The obvious easy answer is “yes,” but that leads to a much more complex and nuanced question: “How should Canada intervene to protect?” (…)
We should not be forced to decide between the illusory choice of doing nothing or creating a firestorm. Neither position reflects the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine, which supports the shielding of populations from mass atrocities (genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing); or the traditional Canadian approach to international peace and security.
R2P, a Canadian-led initiative, emerged from the human security framework, which places the protection of human rights at the centre of international peace and security. Human security is not focused only on genocide and mass atrocities; it deals with armed conflict and intervention, human rights and good governance, resources and the environment, and even organized crime.
Similarly, R2P is not only about military intervention. Quite the opposite: R2P was designed with the specific intention of moving away from humanitarian intervention, which is focused solely on the use of force, by promoting prevention. (…)
In practice, this means that the UN and its member states need to build their capacity to identify mass atrocities and their precipitating factors, and develop the tools necessary to address them before a situation such as Syria occurs.
For Canada, that means developing a prevention policy framework and the institutional capability to implement it. This is not achieved by increasing the level of rhetoric and the adoption of empty slogans; it is done through careful and deliberate action. (…)
Two years ago, the Montreal Institute of Genocide Studies and Human Rights published a report entitled, Mobilizing the Will to Intervene. It analyzed past responses to mass atrocities and provided a set of recommendations for both the Canadian and American context, including making the prevention of mass atrocities a national security priority, the appointment of a senior member of cabinet for the prevention of mass atrocities, the creation of an interdepartmental coordinating office for the prevention of mass atrocities and an increase of Canada’s diplomatic and development presence in fragile states.
(…) The Canadian government has not taken any steps towards implementing the recommendations. (…)
Should Canada intervene in situations where mass violations of human rights are occurring? Absolutely. Are we in a position to do so? Absolutely not.
Read the full opinion.
2. Responsibility to Protect in Southeast Asia: Enlarging Space for Civil Society
Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies
The concept of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) is relatively new to many Southeast Asians, who have traditionally relied on the state for security and therefore faced a sense of hopelessness when such protection was lacking. While the state represented the only institution ensuring human security for the masses in he past, civil society organizations (CSOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have today emerged as indispensable non-state actors campaigning for humanitarian interventions in situations where the state has failed in the provision of human security. (…)
This paper discusses the roles that CSOs and NGOs play in promoting the R2P concept in Southeast Asia, exploring the nature of such roles and attempting to arrive at policy recommendations for a more efficient operationalization and implementation of R2P. (…) The roles of CSOs and NGOs in three fundamental areas of R2P are explored: promoting awareness and understanding of R2P; aiding the protection process and strengthening justice; and, knitting alliances with other actors. The policy recommendations proffered highlight the need to consolidate existing networks of CSOs as part of improved capacity building, using available social media networks to make the R2P concept more relevant to Asia, and finally mingling with local communities to raise awareness of the necessity to prioritise human security. (…)
See full report.