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8 July 2013
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1. Statement by Mr. Adama Dieng, United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, on the situation in Syria
2. International Crisis Group –Report: Syria’s Metastasising Conflicts
3. Anand Varghese, United States Institute for Peace –Social Media Reporting and the Syrian Civil War
 
1. Dana MacLean, IRIN-Asia –Myanmar’s Rakhine State: Where aid can do harm
2. Minority Rights Group International –One year after the violence began: Civil Society Organizations deeply concerned by the human rights and humanitarian situation of the stateless Rohingya
 
1. Democratic Republic of Congo: Major General Patrick Cammaert (Ret.) and Fiona Blyth, International Peace Institute –Issue Brief: The UN Intervention Brigade in the DRC
2. Senegal: International Federation of Human Rights –Hissene Habre indicted for crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture
3. Guinea: Human Rights Watch –High-Level Charges in 2009 Massacre
 
1. Stanley Foundation –Interview with Alex Bellamy, Waving the Red Flag: Preventing Atrocities
2. Sarah Teitt and Sara Davies, Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect –Policy Brief: Realizing Commitments to Women, Peace and Security in Southeast Asia
3. Ramesh Thakur, Washington Quarterly –R2P after Libya and Syria: Engaging Emerging    Powers
4. Gentian Zyberi (editor), Cambridge University Press –Upcoming publication: An Institutional Approach to the Responsibility to Protect
 
23 July 2013, Symposium and Report Launch with Madeleine K. Albright and Richard S. Williamson: The United States and R2P – From Words to Action, Brookings Institution, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, United States Institute of Peace (Washington, DC, USA)
27 July 2013, Conference: Volunteers for a Global Future, Citizens for Global Solutions (Hempstead, New York, USA)
16 September 2013, Virtual Introductory Course on Technology for Human Rights (Registration now open), Sentinel Project for Genocide Prevention
 

 
 
On 20 June 2013, the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect (ICRtoP) held its first global civil society conference on the Responsibility to Protect norm (RtoP, R2P) in Istanbul, Turkey.
 
Over 60 organizations - both ICRtoP members and other interested groups – from over 25 countries and working in a range of sectors participated in the conference to share and exchange strategies for advancing RtoP and mass atrocities prevention around the world. These discussions focused on working with national policymakers to implement RtoP; mobilizing and building the capacities of civil society organizations to support and actively advance the norm; and engaging regional organizations on atrocities prevention.
 
ICRtoP aimed for participants to learn from one another, finding commonalities in their objectives and experiences. The conference, as well as the interactions among this rich network of practitioners, laid the foundation for new and exciting initiatives to promote the implementation of RtoP at the local, national, regional and international levels.
 
ICRtoP will release a report from the meeting later this month as well as post the remarks and/or powerpoint presentations given by speakers, where possible, on our website. In the meantime, see the conference agenda and get in touch with us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you have additional questions about the event.
 
 
On 24 June 2013, the United Nations Security Council held an open debate on sexual violence in armed conflict, during which Council Members unanimously adopted Resolution 2106 (S/RES/2106).
 
During the debate, Council Members were briefed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; Zainab Bangura, the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict; Jane Anywar, a Ugandan lawyer representing the Women’s Initiative for Gender Justice; and Angelina Jolie, the Special Envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Council Members then considered a concept note (S/2013/335), distributed by the United Kingdom, which focused on addressing impunity and ensuring accountability for crimes of sexual violence in conflict, as well as the Secretary-General’s Report on sexual violence in conflict, released in March 2013, which had issued recommendations to both increase pressure on and build the capacities of states to bring perpetrators of these crimes to justice.
 
The adopted Resolution addressed a range of issues related to both ensuring accountability of perpetrators of sexual crimes and preventing these atrocities altogether. The text reflected the consensus among those governments that they bore the primary responsibility to protect their populations from sexual violence, that sexual violence in conflict may constitute a crime against humanity or war crime and that, therefore, states must investigate and prosecute perpetrators of these crimes to fight impunity. Among the range of recommendations to prevent sexual violence within the Resolution, it stressed that women’s participation was essential in any prevention or protection initiatives, and urged more systematic monitoring of sexual violence; a review of mandates for and inclusion of Gender Advisors in fact-finding, peacekeeping and political missions to enable better recognition of and response to these crimes; and targeted sanctions against perpetrators of sexual violence in conflict. Finally, the Resolution also noted the role of the International Criminal Court and ad-hoc and national tribunals in ending impunity for sexual violence and emphasized the contribution civil society organizations can make in local-level protection from these crimes.
 
For more information, read the press release from the open debate and see the informal summary of the meeting released by the Coalition for the International Criminal Court.
 
 
As the civil war in Syria continues, with the state’s armed forces and pro- and anti-government militias battling on a daily basis for control of the nation, the risks to civilians increase at an ever-more deadly rate. On 4 June, the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic released its fifth report, finding that the conflict had reached new levels of brutality, and articulating the crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by both government forces and its affiliated militias as well as anti-government armed groups. Shortly thereafter, on 13 June (coinciding with the release of her Office’s Updated Statistical Analysis on Killings in the Syrian Arab Republic) UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay announced that the number of people killed during the Syrian civil war had surpassed 93,000. On 8 July, UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, warned against the increasing use of rhetoric by political and religious leaders in the Middle East and North Africa region as it could be used to incite further violence in Syria. Mr. Dieng urged all leaders to “act responsibly and refrain from using or condoning any language that may escalate sectarian tensions”, and recalled the commitment to the Responsibility to Protect made by all states in 2005.   
 
Meanwhile, the refugee crisis has also grown worse. Despite reports from Oxfam International on 19 June that the number of Syrian refugees will soon exceed two million, Iraq, Jordan and Turkey have either significantly limited access or closed their borders entirely to refugees fleeing the violence. Human Rights Watch, reporting on these closed border crossings on 1 July, called on these states to respect the principle of non-refoulement within international refugee and human rights law – which prohibits sending any individual back to a country where their life or freedom would be threatened – and allow access to all refugees fleeing the war.
 
In response to the ongoing armed conflict as well as increasing evidence of the use of chemical weapons on the ground (though the responsibility for deploying these weapons remains unverified), Arab and European states, spearheaded by the United States and Saudi Arabia, have increased military aid to opposition forces. Such aid has proved controversial as some civil society organizations, including Amnesty International, the International Crisis Group, and the UN Association of the UK, have asserted that arming these groups will increase risks to civilians, both because the opposition has reportedly committed human rights abuses and because the weapons may be easily transferred or diverted. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has also repeatedly warned against increasing militarization in the country, and most recently on 2 July urged Member States to stop the supply of arms and focus on finding a political solution. Russia and the United States have continued their efforts to organize a conference to reach such a solution after announcing in May 2013 that they would work together to broker a peace agreement. The conference has since been repeatedly delayed due to discussions on the structure and attendees for the meeting, with the most recent information saying that it may not take place until September.
 
1. Statement by Mr. Adama Dieng, United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, on the situation in Syria

Special Adviser Adama Dieng is deeply concerned by the escalating use of rhetoric by political and religious leaders in a number of countries in the Middle East and North Africa regions, in the context of the conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic. In recent statements, certain religious leaders have portrayed the conflict in Syria as a religious conflict and have denigrated the beliefs of parties to the conflict and their allies.

“History has shown that exploiting religious tensions in the context of a political and armed struggle may incite violence and could lead to large scale atrocities,” stated Special Adviser Adama Dieng. “Such rhetoric, when it constitutes incitement to violence on religious grounds, could exacerbate the already disastrous violence in Syria, lead to further war crimes and crimes against humanity and fuel tensions between different groups both in Syria and elsewhere in the region.”

All leaders – whether religious, political or military – have a responsibility and a crucial role to play in speaking out against any hate speech that encourages intolerance or discriminatory stereotyping, or that constitutes incitement to violence. Under international law, attacks against civilians can not be justified under any circumstances. Advocacy of hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence is also prohibited under international human rights law.

“I urge all leaders in the wider region to act responsibly and refrain from using or condoning any language that may escalate sectarian tensions. The consequences of rhetoric that inflames these tensions will be felt by populations across the region,” said Mr. Dieng.

All leaders, whether local, national or regional, must insist on respect for international human rights and humanitarian law and, in the context of an armed conflict, stress that civilians and those no longer taking part in hostilities must be protected, regardless of their religious or other identity.  Those responsible for attacks against civilians and other protected persons must be held to account.

In the 2005 World Summit Outcome document, all Heads of State and Government committed to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, including their incitement.  The international community also committed to take collective action, in accordance with the Charter, should peaceful means be inadequate and national authorities manifestly fail to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

“All States must refrain from contributing to such crimes, including by tolerating hate speech and incitement to violence against particular populations,” stated Mr. Dieng. “If we do not act now, there is a serious risk that sectarian violence could spread across the region.” (…)

Read full statement in English and Arabic
.
 
2. Syria’s Metastasising Conflicts
International Crisis Group
27 June 2013
 
Two years, scores of thousands of dead, a mushrooming regional sectarian war and millions of refugees and internally displaced later, the Syrian war is tying the international community in knots largely of its own making. (…)
 
If the goal is to end this horrendous war, the choice is between massive Western military intervention – with attending risks and uncertainties – to decisively shift the ground balance; acceptance of regime victory with the moral and political price that would entail; and a diplomatic solution driven jointly by the U.S. and Russia. The latter is the preferred but today illusory option, in which regime and opposition would settle for a less-than-satisfactory power-sharing agreement, and the region’s main rival camps (led, respectively, by Iran and Saudi Arabia) would acquiesce in a Syria aligned with neither. A fourth option – in which allies give both sides enough to survive but not prevail – would perpetuate a proxy war with Syrians as primary victims. It is the present stage and the likeliest forecast for the foreseeable future.
 
For now, the focus should be on immediate steps to de-escalate the conflict and on mapping out in more detail an endgame that could serve as the basis for a diplomatic settlement. (…)
 
What is to be done? Already overdue is to vastly increase humanitarian aid within Syria, whether in regime- or opposition-held territory. There is need, too, for a “periphery” strategy for avoiding instability in vulnerable neighbours: giving economic help to Jordan and Lebanon and the refugees they host; prevailing upon regional countries not to further incite sectarian tensions in Lebanon; pressing Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki to adopt a far more inclusive policy toward his Sunni opposition.
 
Hardest of all is what to do about Syria. The priority should be to end the war; there are no easy choices, but there is at least need to face them squarely:
 
♦ One option would be for the West to decisively tip the military balance. This, it almost certainly can do – albeit only by a far more massive intervention than is presently contemplated or, arguably, politically palatable. Even then, it is not clear whether the regime would be “defeated”, or merely reincarnated in a series of militias, and even less clear whether the war would be ended or only redefined. Iran, Hizbollah, perhaps even Russia would keep influence, fuel instability and ensure a chaotic transition (Tehran and the Shiite movement have elsewhere proved to be masters at this game), and the regional/sectarian Cold War would endure.
An arguably most expedient way to tamp down violence would be to starve the rebels of resources, acquiesce in de facto regime victory and seek an accommodation with Bashar. The moral, political and strategic costs would be huge, perhaps prohibitive, and it might well not end the tragedy: enraged Syrians likely would not surrender; an emboldened regime might seek revenge; and Damascus almost certainly would refrain from the domestic or foreign policy concessions necessary for its external enemies to save face.
♦ The optimal solution – a negotiated, diplomatic one – at this stage belongs pretty much to the world of make-believe. Outside powers – beginning with Russia and the U.S. – would have to fundamentally shift their endgame approach. For Moscow, this means accepting, then pushing for a major transformation of the Syrian power structure; for Washington, it entails moving from implicit regime change to explicit power sharing. Any viable negotiated political outcome would have to empower and reassure Syria’s various constituencies. Regional actors, who will support a compromise only if they believe the new political framework gives them sufficient leverage to preserve their core interests, would need guarantees. The West’s apparent determination to exclude Iran from a peace conference (perhaps under review in the wake of that country’s presidential elections) is short-sighted: keeping Tehran from Geneva will not lessen its role in Damascus.
 
The West’s current trajectory – urging diplomacy while resorting to half-way measures such as arming the opposition or, conceivably in the future, targeted airstrikes and a limited no-fly zone – is an option as well, and one that might produce sizeable ancillary benefits: eroding the regime’s military; boosting Western influence over the rebels; and recalibrating the balance of power among rebel groups. But it would not produce what its promoters typically claim as justification: moving the regime to seriously negotiate a genuine transition. Nor is there any reason to believe it could arrest sectarian polarisation, contain violence, limit jihadi groups or persuade Syria’s allies to back down. Ultimately, it would mean getting further sucked into a dangerously intensifying and malignant Sunni/Shiite sectarian regional conflict in which the West would be running a risk by picking favourites. (…)
 
 
3. Social Media Reporting and the Syrian Civil War
Anand Varghese, Senior Program Specialist at the Center of Innovation for Science, Technology and Peacebuilding
United States Institute for Peace (USIP)
June 2013
 
Syria’s civil war has been a highly social-mediated conflict, with online videos and social media content documenting everything from early street protests to military offensives. In addition, journalists and international news media have had little to no access to Syria during the conflict. This lack of traditional reporting and verifiable journalistic reports has led to an increased dependence on social media as a source of news. But assessing the veracity of these reports has proven extremely difficult. Activists have used social media channels to expose the alleged war crimes of the Syrian regime, while the regime and sometimes even rival rebel factions have deployed them to make similar claims about opposition forces. This presents a range of new challenges to peace builders, decision-makers, researchers, and other observers. Does the ‘social mediated’ picture of Syria largely match the realities on the ground, or is it systematically distorted in significant ways? How can we overcome these distortions?
 
An emerging question here is whether social media’s monopoly on reporting has created consistent distortions of Syria’s on-the-ground reality. (…) An ongoing conversation on social media, and on the ground, has called for a peaceful transition and increased freedom of speech. The bloody social media reports have drowned out these peaceful voices, which many forget were the initial instigators of the movement to oust Assad. (…)
 
Despite these challenges, there has been an increased enthusiasm amongst traditional journalists to integrate social media reports into their work. (…)
 
The international community has watched the Syrian conflict unfold via the lens of social media. Our dependence on this lens, combined with the conspicuous absence of traditional news media, only reinforces the need for new techniques and tools to help us verify information coming out of conflict zones. There have been considerable strides in using social media data to sift the proverbial wheat from the chaff in this regard, but we remain in early days. The need is clear for improved analytical models, data sets, and data analysis infrastructure to further this goal, till we can have truly precise and predictive data analysis tools.
 
 
 
The situation for ethnic and religious minorities in Rakhine State - particularly Rohingya Muslim communities - remains critical. On 11 June, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, Tomás Ojea Quintana, issued a statement reiterating the need for the government to address the impunity enabling the systematic and widespread human rights violations committed against the Rohingya and wider Muslim community in Rakhine State, and recalling the state’s obligation to investigate violations and hold perpetrators accountable. Meanwhile, civil society organizations have continued working to increase international focus on the crisis. On 29 May, Refugee International (RI) published a field report on the humanitarian situation in Rakhine, outlining concerns for the protection of populations and calling on the international community not to ignore them in its rush to normalize relations with Myanmar following the nation’s recent political reforms. ALTSEAN-Burma reported in its June 2013 bulletin that Rohingya communities continue to face abuses, both by the state security sector and by Buddhist attackers, but that no one has been held responsible for the violence. This followed ALTSEAN-Burma’s earlier report - released in May 2013 - on the reigning impunity in the state. Most recently, on 24 June, 76 civil society organizations endorsed a statement expressing concern over the Rohingya’s human rights and humanitarian situation. Among these groups, three ICRtoP members endorsed the statement, including Minority Rights Group International, Human Rights Watch and ALTSEAN-Burma.
 
1. Myanmar’s Rakhine State – where aid can do harm
Dana MacLean
IRIN Asia
3 July 2013
 
The aid community should proceed carefully to avoid enflaming sectarian tensions in Myanmar’s Rakhine State more than a year after the first wave of inter-communal violence.

“The biggest challenge faced by humanitarian aid groups to operate in contexts of sectarian violence is to be perceived as delivering aid in a biased manner,” said Jeremie Labbe, a senior policy analyst of humanitarian affairs at the UN International Peace Institute (IPI) based in New York.

Since inter-communal fighting broke out between ethnic Rakhines (mostly Buddhist) and Rohingya (predominantly Muslim) in June and October 2012, displacing up to 140,000 people, humanitarian assistance to Rakhine State has totalled more than US$52 million, according to the European Commission’s aid body ECHO. (…)

In recent decades, humanitarian aid has been directed at the Rohingya in western Rakhine State due to systematic state-sanctioned discrimination that has left roughly 800,000 people stateless, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). This focus has engendered hostility among some in the majority Buddhist population (ethnic Rakhines), who felt marginalized and threatened by people they consider to be illegal migrants.

Meanwhile, the separation of Muslim Rohingya in nearly 90 official camps and sites for internally displaced persons (IDPs) risks cementing segregation between the two communities, fears ECHO, which has expressed concern that any housing construction in the camps for the displaced may lead to long-term physical division. (…)

While OCHA encourages humanitarian providers to adopt a “conflict-sensitive” approach to aid distribution, which requires clear communication with communities to explain the basis of aid distribution, past humanitarian interventions in Rakhine State have contributed to an uneasy relationship between aid providers and ethnic Rakhines. (…)
 
While most aid organizations assist both ethnic Rakhine and Rohingya indiscriminately, the Rohingya have disproportionately suffered the consequences of recent inter-communal strife.

Most of the 3,000 previously displaced ethnic Rakhine people have returned to their places of origin, with support from central and local government, according to ECHO.

“Sticking to the principle of impartiality [and providing aid on the basis of need] means that the bulk of aid [is] directed toward the group that suffered the most during the violence and now faces the biggest needs, in [this] case the Muslim Rohingya,” said Labbe.

But it also means that aid risks exacerbating sectarian tension, as well as the insecurity of humanitarian staff working on the ground.

“It is up to aid agencies to redouble efforts to explain and communicate with all segments of the population why aid is distributed in a certain way, and how - in order to mitigate possible negative effects,” said Labbe. (…)

While a conflict-sensitive approach may help avoid mutual hostility between the two communities, ultimately the responsibility for addressing turmoil and promoting peace lies with the government, rights advocates insist. (…)

Experts list poverty, marginalization, and discriminatory laws as root causes for deep-seated grievances, requiring government-driven political recognition and protection of human rights for both groups, for example granting Rohingya Muslims citizenship. (…)
 
 
2. Civil society statement: One year after the violence began, civil society organizations deeply concerned by the human rights and humanitarian situation of the stateless Rohingya
24 June 2013
 
The Rohingya, a stateless minority of Myanmar, have endured decades of abuse, persecution and discrimination. (…)
 
One year after the violence began, the root causes and on-going humanitarian and human rights concerns remain largely unaddressed. (…)
 
Despite heavy restrictions and difficulties in accessing the affected and displaced communities, and threats against, and intimidation and arbitrary arrests of humanitarian aid workers and human rights defenders, civil society actors have monitored and documented the situation, provided humanitarian aid to victims of violence, published statements and reports, briefed the international community and repeatedly raised growing concern over the deteriorating situation in Rakhine State and for Muslim communities throughout Myanmar. (…)
 
The international legal obligations of all countries concerned require them to protect all persons subject to their jurisdictions, regardless of whether they are citizens, stateless persons, asylum seekers or refugees. (...) Myanmar must also answer allegations of crimes against humanity being perpetrated by state actors against the Rohingya. Refugee recipient countries including Bangladesh, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Sri Lanka have also acted in violation of the right to seek and to enjoy asylum and the right to liberty and freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention, and in certain instances, the right not to be subjected to refoulement.
 
The undersigned civil society organizations express deep concern with regard to the human rights and humanitarian abuses that continue to disproportionately affect the Rohingya, jointly speak out on behalf of all victims of violence and abuse, displacement and denial of humanitarian aid in Rakhine State – be they Rohingya, Rakhine or of other ethnic or religious identity; and one year after the violence began, emphatically state that all violence, discrimination and abuse must end now.
 
To the government of Myanmar, we urge that immediate steps are taken to:
- Facilitate unimpeded humanitarian access to all those affected by conflict regardless of registration status, and take effective action against those who intimidate humanitarian agencies.
- Produce a plan for reconciliation, end movement restrictions, and ensure safe voluntary returns.
- Provide protection to all people living in Rakhine State, end impunity, prosecute all perpetrators of violence and other abuses through a fair judicial system, arrange for immediate release of those who have been arbitrarily detained and provide adequate redress to all victims of violence and injustice.
- Invite the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to establish an office.
- Review the 1982 Citizenship Act and other discriminatory laws and practices to ensure that all persons have equal rights and equal access to citizenship and are not discriminated against on grounds of ethnicity.
 
To the governments of refugee recipient countries, we urge that immediate steps are taken to: 
- Protect all refugees and asylum seekers from Myanmar – and take into account the acute andspecific protection needs of stateless Rohingya.
- Desist from arbitrarily detaining Rohingya refugees and asylum seekers and attempting to return them to Myanmar in violation of the principle of non-refoulement.
 
To international community, we urge that immediate steps are taken to:
- Insist on protection of minority rights, including the right to nationality, as a pre-requisite to full relations.
- Press the government of Myanmar to present its plans for promoting reconciliation, ending the movement restrictions, and enabling safe voluntary returns in Rakhine State.
- Press the government of Myanmar to act on the recommendations above, including ending impunity and achieving greater accountability and justice. (…)

Read
full statement.
 
 
1. Issue Brief: The UN Intervention Brigade in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Major General Patrick Cammaert (Ret.) and Fiona Blyth
International Peace Institute
July 2013
 
After nearly fourteen years of peacekeeping in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the United Nations established a new, more aggressive kind of force for the conflict-stricken nation in March 2013: the Intervention Brigade. Situated within the existing United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), this offensive combat force is designed to break the persistent cycles of violence in DRC and protect civilians by carrying out targeted operations to neutralize rebel forces.
 
While this new initiative could improve the UN’s efforts to protect civilians, particularly by deterring rebel attacks through a show of force, it also raises a number of risks and challenges for MONUSCO, the DRC, and the region as a whole.
 
MONUSCO’s peacekeepers are already authorized to use military force to restore peace and security under their Chapter VII mandate, with rules of engagement that allow them to conduct offensive operations in the protection of civilians. The extent of these operations is, however, contested among troop contributors, and the formation of the Intervention Brigade highlights the reluctance of some to implement the mandate to its fullest extent. The brigade’s deployment makes the UN a party in the conflict, which many member states fear taints the UN’s neutrality with future consequences for peacekeeping operations worldwide.
 
Making the UN a party in the fight increases the risks to the civilian components of MONUSCO, who may become targets of rebel reprisals to Intervention Brigade operations. MONUSCO’s core troops must be perceived as effective in order to deter such attacks and display a willingness to counter rebel incursions with decisive action and the use of force beyond self-defense. This may also increase the risks to the population in the DRC, which may experience casualties from the fighting.
 
The Intervention Brigade may succeed in clearing rebel groups and deterring violence for the duration of its one-year deployment. But the current weakness of the Congolese armed forces when it comes to supporting MONUSCO and any gains made by the brigade must be addressed, as they are an unreliable ally yet critical to sustainable solutions to the conflict.
 
In addition, the brigade must form a part of a wider strategy for bringing peace to the DRC, creating political space for the new Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Region. Military intervention unsupported by a political process could, in fact, discourage parties from engaging in negotiations.
 
Finally, this broader strategy must be driven by national actors with the support of regional powers. The conflict in the DRC cannot be addressed solely within its borders. The pervasive backing of rebel groups by Congo’s neighbors requires that solutions to the conflict have regional support. The Intervention Brigade was conceived and agreed to in the sub-region by the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region and endorsed at the regional level by the African Union (AU), but the political process must have a similar consensus. In order for the Intervention Brigade to contribute to a lasting peace in the DRC, its operations should be planned and implemented with these factors in mind. (…)
 
For more resources on the crisis in the DRC, visit the ICRtoP website.
 
2. Senegal: Hissene Habre indicted for crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture
International Federation for Human Rights
8 July 2013
 
On June 2nd 2013, Hissene Habre, former Chadian dictator between 1982 and 1990, was indicted for crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture. He was remanded in custody by the Senegalese investigating judge in charge of this case.
 
Habre is accused of thousands of political murders and the systematic use of torture when he was in power. Since then, he lives in exile in Senegal. In February 2013, the Extraordinary African Chambers within the Senegalese tribunal were created by Senegal and the African Union to try the crimes committed during the dictatorship. On June 30th 2013, Habre was remanded in custody by order of the Chambers’ Prosecutor. The investigating judges charged him following his first appearance on July 2nd 2013. He was then indicted and remanded in custody as requested by M. Mbacké Fall, General Prosecutor of the Extraordinary African Chambers.

FIDH and its member organisations in Chad, the “Chadian Association for the promotion and defense of Human rights - ATPDH”, the “Chadian Huamn rights league - LTDH” and in Senagal “the National Organisation for Human rights - ONDH”, and “the African reunion for Human rights - RADDHO”, welcome the indictment of Hissene Habre by the Extraordinary African Chambers. It marks a significant step forward for this case on which FIDH and his member organizations have been working on for over a decade, both regarding the establishment of facts and legal representation. (…)

This case has been marked by numerous developments. Habre was first prosecuted in Senegal in 2000 after a complaint filed by 7 victims, with the support of many NGOs including FIDH. (…)

After Macky Sall’s election as President of Senegal in April 2012, the African Union and Senegal agreed to create the “Extraordinary African Chambers” in order to bring the trial within Senegalese jurisdiction. These mixed Chambers have the jurisdiction to try the most serious crimes committed between 1982 and 1990 within the Chadian territory.

The pre-trial phase opened by the Chambers should last fifteen months. It could be followed by a trial opening at the end of 2014 or in 2015.
 
 
3. Guinea: High-Level Charges in 2009 Massacre
Human Rights Watch
3 July 2013
 
On 28 September 2009, members of Guinea’s security forces opened fire on thousands of civilians peacefully protesting in a stadium in the country’s capital of Conakry. Over 150 Guineans were killed and dozens of women suffered brutal sexual violence. Shortly thereafter, an International Commission of Inquiry, established by the UN, concluded that government forces had committed crimes against humanity and identified several individuals who held specific responsibility for crimes committed that day. One such individual was Lt. Col. Claude “Coplan” Pivi, Guinea’s minister for presidential security.
 
Guinea’s domestic panel of judges investigating the country’s 2009 stadium massacre and rapes has taken a significant step in charging a high-level suspect, who is expected to be questioned by the judges on July 4. Given the potential for interference with the investigation, the government should place the suspect on leave and take additional measures to protect judges, witnesses, and victims.

The suspect, Lt. Col. Claude “Coplan” Pivi, is Guinea’s minister for presidential security, a position he also held at the time of the 2009 crimes. Media reports said that Pivi was charged with murder, rape, arson, looting, destruction of buildings, and complicity. (…)

Human Rights Watch, a United Nations-supported International Commission of Inquiry, and other independent human rights organizations identified Pivi as someone whose possible role in the crimes should be investigated. (…)

The panel of judges has made important progress in the investigation. They have interviewed more than 200 victims and charged at least 8 people, including Pivi and other high-ranking military officers. (…)

However, the investigation has been plagued by lack of material support and concerns about security for the judges. The investigation has yet to be completed nearly four years later. Some suspects have already been in pretrial detention longer than the two years permitted by Guinean law. (…)

“Victims in Guinea are desperate to see justice for the heinous crimes of September 28, 2009, and the days immediately following,” Keppler said. “Fair investigation and prosecution are essential to bring redress to the victims and to signal a definitive end to longstanding impunity for abuses by members of the security services.”
 
For more resources on the crisis in Guinea, visit the ICRtoP website.
 

1. Interview with Alex Bellamy, Waving the Red Flag: Preventing Atrocities
Taken from “The Courier”, a publication from the Stanley Foundation
Summer 2013

The Stanley Foundation recently sat down to talk with Alex Bellamy, a professor at Australia’s Griffith University, who has written extensively about the need for policymakers to apply an “atrocity prevention lens” when dealing with crises.

For all the setbacks and frustrations in responding to mass atrocities, the world has come a long way. It’s been almost a decade since the United Nations adopted the doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect, more commonly known as R2P, which outlines steps for the international community to stop and prevent some of the most devastating man-made carnage.

THE STANLEY FOUNDATION (TSF): What is the atrocity prevention lens?
BELLAMY: The idea of the atrocity prevention lens is to basically develop an analytical tool or a policy process that works with, rather than replicates, existing processes and mechanisms. (…)

It’s not about building a new table or having new bureaucracies or a mess of new programs, but rather bringing that perspective to bear in existing work. So in normal times, at times outside of crises, it would involve somebody providing analysis on the atrocity-specific risks in a country, somebody analyzing current programming to see how it impacts on those risks, you know, a do-no-harm sort of analysis, make sure it doesn’t impact negatively, look at where programming can be tweaked to improve its preventive effects, and being open to receiving information that comes from the field that might be atrocity relevant.

The lens or the offices with that sort of responsibility have direct access to the most senior decision makers in the organization, so they can kind of wave the red flag. Of course, the red flag is something that you wouldn’t want to wave very often, and you certainly wouldn’t want to get it wrong, because it’s the last time you’ll get listened to if you wave the red flag and get it wrong, but that option needs to be there. 

TSF: Why have past attempts to stop atrocities been fairly unsuccessful, and how could that change in the future?
BELLAMY: The problem with prevention as a whole and measuring success of prevention is, of course, we’re always talking about a dog that doesn’t bark. It’s difficult to know the dogs that would have barked, had it not been for something that somebody did. That’s a perennial problem with prevention.

And historically it’s been why it’s been so hard to mobilize resources from governments, even for conflict prevention, because it’s so hard to draw a causal link between specific work that somebody has done and the absence of something later. (…)

TSF: What still needs to be done on the R2P front?
BELLAMY: The debate is no longer about whether we should have a principle of R2P or about what that principle means. (…) The issue comes around to implementation, and there we’ve got two sets of related issues. One is around building the institutional infrastructure that’s needed to move forward on atrocity prevention and the protection of populations.

The other area comes from the bottom up and is about what sorts of sets of measures can be used in individual countries. Here I think the debate is moving. We used to have a debate about whether R2P should be applied in this or that case, as if there are situations where states don’t have a responsibility to protect their populations. I think now it’s widely understood that R2P is universal and enduring, and it applies everywhere, and it applies all the time. So the question now is when we look at individual countries, what is the range of challenges in individual countries and what are the best mixtures of policy responses to those? And that’s going to be different for every country, and it’s also a challenge that every country needs to take up. There is no country that doesn’t have some history in relation to R2P, that doesn’t have some of the risk factors associated with R2P.

So this is really a challenge that everyone has to face together.
 
2. Policy brief: Realizing Commitments to Women, Peace and Security in Southeast Asia
Sarah Teitt and Sara Davies
Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
June 2013

At the recent April 2013 UN Security Council open debate on Women, Peace and Security (WPS), Vietnam’s UN Ambassador Le Haoi Trung issued a statement on behalf of ASEAN member states that affirmed that ASEAN ‘attaches great importance’ to the implementation of United Nations Resolutions 1325 (2000), 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009), 1888 (2009) and 1960 (2010). (…) Reflecting the ethos of Resolution 1325, the ASEAN statement affirmed the organization’s view that women’s empowerment and gender equality are vital to the prevention and eradication of sexual violence in conflict. ASEAN underscored that states must ‘bear responsibility and exert their utmost’ to prevent and address sexual violence in armed conflict, with the international community assisting states to exercise this responsibility through sharing best practices. The statement concluded by stressing ASEAN’s readiness and commitment to join efforts to ensure the elimination of sexual violence in conflict, and to implement ‘measures of accountability and redress’ with respect to such crimes.

While Vietnam had shown leadership on WPS as a key sponsor of Resolution 1889 during its elected term on the Security Council, the statement was notable insofar as it was issued on behalf of all ASEAN members, and represented one of the clearest Southeast Asian regional endorsements of the WPS agenda to date. This is not to say that ASEAN member states have not been committed to the protection and advancement of women’s human rights. Indeed, the statement made reference to a number of ASEAN commitments to enhance the status and welfare of women and girls and to eliminate ‘all’ forms of violence against women, including sexual violence. (…)

However, it is important to note that despite the ASEAN statement’s reference to these initiatives as evidence of its commitment to WPS, none of these regional declarations or institutions expressly takes up the core concern of the WPS agenda– that states implement action at the national and regional level that demonstrate their understanding of the ‘impact of armed conflict on women and girls’, and that ‘effective institutional arrangements to guarantee their protection and full participation in the peace process can significantly contribute to the maintenance and promotion of international peace and security’. (...)

The absence of direct attention to the impact of conflict on women hinders ASEAN and its member states’ efforts to realize their commitment to the protection of women’s human rights, gender equality and durable peace. (...)

There are a number of ways in which, going forward, ASEAN and its member states, with the support of the UN, can give practical effect to their endorsement of the WPS agenda, and to the prevention and response to sexual violence in conflict in particular. One immediate issue concerns the upcoming talks in late June to follow up the 30 May 2013 UN-China brokered peace agreement between the Myanmar government and eight ethnic armed groups. Under this agreement, the two sides committed to a seven point plan, including a ceasefire agreement and a monitoring and verification mechanism to address ceasefire violations. Negotiating parties in Myanmar should draw lessons from the 11 January 2013 ceasefire agreement in the Central African Republic (CAR) that included a prohibition on sexual violence as a condition of the ceasefire agreement, which meant that sexual crimes in CAR are defined as acts that are considered in breach of the agreement. A similar provision in the monitoring and verification mechanism of the Myanmar ceasefire would not only take into account allegations that widespread attacks on women are a factor in the conflict, but would also be an important signal that Myanmar (and the UN and China) are committed to women’s protection and participation at the very first stage of Myanmar’s renewed peace process. Given that the inclusion of provisions concerning women at the early stages of peace processes increase the likelihood that women’s perspectives will be included in subsequent stages, linking the Myanmar ceasefire to women’s human rights violations would make headway in ensuring a gender sensitive peace process. (…)
 
 
3. R2P after Libya and Syria: Engaging Emerging Powers
Professor Ramesh Thakur
The Washington Quarterly
Spring 2013
 
The use of force - no matter how benevolent, enlightened, or impartial in intent - has dramatic consequences. (…)
 
Libya proved to be almost a textbook illustration justifying R2P principles, but its implementation also demonstrated the need for legitimacy criteria to guide decisions on authorizing and overseeing international military intervention. Although successful, the Libyan operation proved particularly controversial among the emerging powers, and the price of exceeding the mandate there has been paid by Syrians. Nevertheless, it would be premature to conclude that R2P can be branded ‘‘RIP.’’ (...)
 
Before looking more closely at how these states’ views on R2P are evolving, given recent experiences such as Libya and Syria, it is important to understand three preliminary things. First, external interventions were frequent in the past, before R2P’s 2001 formulation, and are not guaranteed in the future, despite R2P’s unanimous adoption in 2005. The choice therefore is not if intervention, but whether an intervention will be ad hoc or rules-/based, unilateral or multilateral, and divisive or consensual. R2P, especially when backed by agreed-/upon legitimacy criteria, will help shift the balance toward interventions which are rules-/based, multilateral, and consensual. (…)
 
Second, the debate over R2P is not, and should not become, a North—/South issue. But it can turn into one. (…)Despite impressions that non-/Western societies resist R2P, many have a historical tradition of reciprocal rights and obligations which bind sovereigns and subjects. As argued by Mohamed Sahnoun, co-/chair of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS), in many ways R2P is actually a distinctly African contribution to global human rights. (…)
 
Third, the realities are that the only likely sites and targets of intervention in the foreseeable future will be developing countries. (...) Since the interveners will likely come from a spectrum of advanced and/or developing countries, conversations on R2P should occur firstly among the civil societies and governments of developing countries, and secondly between developing and advanced countries. This will forge common norms and standards of international citizenship consistent with contemporary principles of national and global good governance. (...)
 
For all these reasons, engaging the emerging powers on developing the criteria for, and conduct of, R2P interventions as we learn from recent experiences such as Libya and Syria are in the mutual interest of both the emerging powers themselves and all those who support the principle of R2P to protect the world’s vulnerable populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity. (…)
 
The R2P consensus underpinning Resolution 1973 on Libya was damaged by gaps in expectation, communication, and accountability between those who mandated the operation and those who executed it. Brazil subsequently offered a paper on ‘‘Responsibility while Protecting’’ with the potential to bring in some agreed parameters on the conditions to govern the use of UN-/authorized R2P operations. (...)
 
As exemplified by the Brazilian initiative, critics should engage with R2P and seek to improve the means and manner of implementation. This way, the Southern players will become joint and responsible stakeholders in the emerging new world order. On the other hand, if new, rising powers remain more concerned with consolidating their national power aspirations than developing norms and institutions of global governance, they will remain incomplete powers, limited by these narrow ambitions, with their material grasp longer than their normative reach. (…)
 
Reframing ‘‘humanitarian intervention’’ as the Responsibility to Protect at least re-/established an international consensus on the legitimate ends of the use of military power. However, the implementation of the sharp, military end of Pillar Three of R2P in Libya in 2011 shows that the global consensus on R2P is tenuous and fragile rather than robust and resilient. Above all, the Libyan example confirms that success in an R2P intervention, even if internationally approved, is not guaranteed any more than in any other type of external intervention. Good intentions do not automatically shape good outcomes.
 
On the contrary, there is no humanitarian crisis so grave that an outside military intervention cannot make it worse. The use of military force must always- always-/be the option of last resort, not the tool of choice for dealing with threatened or occurring atrocities. Equally, however, it must remain the option of last resort, and cannot be taken off the table. The key is to engage emerging countries in continually shaping the means of implementing R2P interventions, when necessary, and for those emerging countries to seek to shape global normative guidelines rather than looking only to their own national ambitions.

Read full paper
.
 
4. Upcoming publication: An Institutional Approach to the Responsibility to Protect
Edited by: Gentian Zyberi
Cambridge University Press
June 2013
 
“An Institutional Approach to the Responsibility to Protect” examines the Responsibility to Protect norm from an institutional perspective. Over twenty-five contributing experts from around the world provide chapters on the roles, responsibilities and current capabilities of the international community in mass atrocities prevention and protection are explored, including with regard to the main political organs of the UN, regional and security organizations, judicial institutions and regional-level human rights protection systems. Contributors also discuss recent and current crisis situations, including those in Libya and Syria, and make recommendations to strengthen human security and human rights capacities.
 
Contributors include Diana Amnéus, Raphaël van Steenberghe, Susan C. Breau, Terry D. Gill, Cedric Ryngaert, Hanne Cuyckens, Nicholas Turner, Lyal S. Sunga, Arnold Pronto, Daniel Fiott, Marie Vincent, Solomon A. Dersso, Noel M. Morada, Paulo de Tarso Lugon Arantes, Mahasen Aljaghoub, Ibrahim M. Aljazy, Maysa S. Bydoon, Dennis J. D. Sandole, Jody M. Prescott, Gentian Zyberi, Niki Frencken, Göran Sluiter, Michael Contarino, Melinda Negron-Gonzales, Rhona Smith, Conall Mallory, O. Hilaire Sobers, and Frans Viljoen.
 
The book is now available for pre-order.
 
 
1. Symposium and Report Launch: The United States and R2P: From Words to Action
23 July 2013, 9:00 am – 12:30 pm
Brookings Institution, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), United States Institute of Peace
Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Theater, USHMM, 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW, Washington, DC
 
(…) Sixty-eight years after the Holocaust, governments continue to struggle with how to prevent genocide and mass atrocities. This symposium will bring together leaders from inside and outside government to examine the utility of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) as a tool for preventing the world’s worst crimes.

The Working Group on R2P—a joint project of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Brookings Institution, and the United States Institute of Peace—will release its report, co-authored by Madeleine K. Albright and Richard S. Williamson, at the symposium. This report takes a critical look at how R2P has been applied in recent cases and makes recommendations for how US policymakers could strengthen and better apply this international norm.
 
See moreinformation. Registerfor the event oremailthe sponsors.
 
2. Conference: Volunteers for a Global Future
27 July 2013, 8:00 am to 5:30 pm
Citizens for Global Solutions
200 Hofstra University, Library 246, Hempstead, NY 11549
 
Citizens for Global Solutions (CGS) will be hosting its 2013 conference on “Volunteers for a Global Future.” The conference will include workshops such as “Get Engaged: Campaigns and Opportunities”, “Building Community and Campus Networks”, “Putting the FUN in fundraising”, “Skill Building from Blogging to Social Sharing”, and “Online Movement Building”. In addition to these sessions, which will be facilitated by staff members from CGS and other partners, the Stanley Foundation will sponsor a panel discussion, entitled, “The Future of the Responsibility to Protect”. Speakers during this panel will include: Sapna Considine, Program Director of the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect, and Angela Bruce-Raeburn, Human Protection Program Officer at the Stanley Foundation.
 
 
3. Introductory Course on Technology for Human Rights
16 September 2013 (Registration open now)
The Sentinel Project for Genocide Prevention
 
Technology is changing the nature of human rights
 
Activists are constantly adapting to use technology in new ways as it continually impacts the struggle to defend human rights worldwide. As mobile phone usage and Internet access continue to rapidly increase, even in less-developed countries, technology has become an essential part of the landscape, influencing both the economy and civil society.

The ability to use new tools to their full potential while also recognizing their limitations and inherent risks has become essential for human rights defenders everywhere. From crisis mapping to social media to satellite imagery, people working in fields like human rights, international development, and journalism need to understand the opportunities and adversities they face when using technology to promote change. (…)
 
The course runs for five weeks with materials and discussions being made available on a weekly basis. (…) Course content is delivered through a combination of audio lectures, slides, videos, readings, small projects, and live video discussions held through Google+ Hangout. Everything has been structured to accommodate participants with varying work schedules and across different time zones.
 
Read more about the course topics.
 
Thank you to Selja Vassnes for compiling this listserv.

 

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