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Spotlight Member Series: The Permanent Peace Movement
 
The ICRtoP is pleased to share our latest Spotlight series post, highlighting the work of Lebanon-based member, the Permanent Peace Movement (PPM) in advancing the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP, R2P) norm. The Coalition spoke with colleagues at PPM about how the organization is engaging with its constituency in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to strengthen understanding of RtoP and overcome challenges facing the norm.
 
PPM created during a time of war to promote peace and reconciliation
For over 20 years, the Permanent Peace Movement has worked on building a culture of peace at the local, national and international levels to prevent and halt conflict and its reemergence, actions that directly impact atrocities prevention. PPM was established in 1989 (...) to create a Lebanon free of conflict through promoting peaceful and non-violent resolution. To work towards achieving their vision and upholding these principles, PPM began and has continued implementing capacity building workshops (...). These initiatives focus on achieving the overall goal of conflict resolution through advocating for dialogue amongst parties, promoting education and remembrance to foster healing and reconciliation, informing on the importance of arms control and how small arms and light weapons impact conflict, stopping the use of child soldiers, and so much more. (...) While their first RtoP-specific initiative began in 2012, you can see that PPM has been working to spread awareness on a number of agendas related to the Responsibility to Protect and the prevention of atrocities for many years.
 
First steps to advance RtoP in the MENA region
Believing in the importance of RtoP as a framework for the prevention of atrocity crimes and how the norm, if understood and operationalized, could impact the Middle East and North Africa, PPM took deliberate steps to raise awareness in the region through hosting the first-ever MENA regional workshop on RtoP in collaboration with the ICRtoP. (…)
 
The hurdles facing work on RtoP
Despite the achievements of this workshop, advancing RtoP in the region is not without its challenges, especially following the military intervention in Libya in 2011 and the ongoing humanitarian crisis and civil war in Syria. Our colleagues at PPM raised the issue of the all too common misunderstanding of RtoP as a tool only for military intervention, a view held by many civil society organizations and political actors in and outside of the region. Another challenge closely linked to this is the belief that, hidden in the implementation of RtoP is a double standard whereby “superpowers” on the UN Security Council agree to act or exercise their veto power only when it’s in their best interest. (…)
 
But the hurdles won’t stop them – PPM’s next steps on RtoP
Despite challenges facing RtoP in the region, PPM is confident that through partnernships and training workshops, barriers to the advancement of the norm can be overcome.
 
For a long time, PPM has partnered with civil society organizations throughout the region and worked closely with policy markers at the national and regional levels. (…)  While PPM has unofficially worked with the [League of Arab States] since 2003, a more direct and formal partnership has begun to develop in the last year, following a regional dialogue meeting held in June 2012 between the League and civil society. (…)
 
In addition to bringing civil society and the LAS together to not only increase general cooperation but also one day serve to advance RtoP, PPM is looking at how to strategically tackle some of the remaining obstacles facing the norm. Such work will require more than just them, as it takes actors at all levels strategically working together to truly create an environment where RtoP crimes will not be committed. (…) An initial and crucial step is to continue promoting a comprehensive understanding of RtoP as a norm that is based on prevention and assistance, so as to dispel the common misconception that RtoP is only intervention. (…) PPM is developing a regional program and strategy to raise awareness on the norm, which will bring together a range of actors to discuss RtoP as a framework for the prevention of crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and genocide and their role in preventing and responding to atrocity crimes. (…) We look forward to seeing this work develop!
 
Read the full ICRtoP blog post.
 
 

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