In this issue...
UN Special Advisers for the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect Release New Framework of Analysis for Atrocity Crimes
In late October 2014, the UN Office for the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect released their new Framework of Analysis for Atrocity Crimes (which, according to the UN World Summit Outcome Document, should be considered to encompass genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing.)
As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon notes in his forward, the Special Advisers devised the Framework as a guide for international, regional, and local actors to assess the risks of atrocity crimes, in the hopes that the Framework will improve early warning and monitoring, promote timely action, and help Member States identify gaps in their prevention capacities. The Secretary-General notes that the Framework can contribute to the UN’s new “Human Rights up Front” initiative, which is a UN system-wide review to ensure that the UN places “human rights, the protection of populations, and the prevention of atrocity crimes at the center” of its work.
In addition to defining atrocity crimes and stressing the importance of prevention, the Framework describes eight common risk factors and six specific risk factors that increase the risk or susceptibility of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing.
To read the full Framework of Analysis, click here.
The Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect has recently completed coordinating the translations of the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect’s RtoP Toolkit into three Asian languages: Bahasa Indonesian, Mandarin Chinese and Khmer. The translated version of the toolkit will be a useful document in advancing and deepening knowledge about the RtoP norm among critical stakeholders in the Asia Pacific region.
The ICRtoP thanks the Asia-Pacific Centre for RtoP for this initiative, which the Coalition hopes will help local and regional actors in the Asia-Pacific region to fulfill their Responsibility to Protect.
Read the toolkit in Mandarin, Bahasa Indonesian, Khmer, and English.
The ICRtoP is excited to announce that the Lebanese-based organization, Permanent Peace Movement (PPM) has joined its Steering Committee. At the height of the Lebanese civil war in 1989, the Permanent Peace Movement (PPM) was founded by university students united by their common vision of the future of Lebanon and their aversion to war. Motivated by the idea that violence is never the solution to resolve conflict, PPM works to promote and facilitate peacebuilding in local, national and international communities. PPM works to resolve conflict through training programs on pluralism and tolerance, to promote transitional justice and reconciliation, to organize campaigns for conflict resolution, to advance human rights and human security, and to motivate individuals and groups to participate in peacebuilding.
The Permanent Peace Movement continues to serve as a leading organization working for the advancement of the Responsibility to Protect in the Middle East and North Africa. The organization’s programmatic work has been greatly influential for raising awareness of the norm in the region, increasing civil society support for and activities on RtoP and the prevention of atrocities, and building relationships with key stakeholders to begin conversations on and advance the Responsibility to Protect. Through PPM’s work on RtoP and the programmatic initiatives implemented to promote peace, tolerance, and reconciliation, the Permanent Peace Movement has had a widespread impact in the promotion of the Responsibility to Protect.
In addition to PPM, the ICRtoP’s Steering Committee includes the Asia-Pacific Centre on the Responsibility to Protect (Australia), Coordinadora Regional de Investigaciones Economicas y Sociales (Argentina), East Africa Law Society (Tanzania), Human Rights Watch (International), Initiatives for International Dialogue (The Philippines), International Refugee Rights Initiative (Uganda; USA), Pan Africa Lawyers Union (Tanzania), Permanent Peace Movement (Lebanon), The Stanley Foundation (USA), United Nations Association-United Kingdom (United Kingdom), WFM-IGP (USA; The Netherlands), West Africa Civil Society Institute (Ghana).
For more information on how your organization can join the Coalition, click here.
New Blog from the ICRtoP: No Protection without Participation: The Responsibility to Include Displaced Women
On October 28, 2014, the Security Council held its annual open debate on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) focusing on women as refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). The urgency of this matter cannot be understated, as the world reaches a grim milestone.
(…) It was noted throughout the debate that in this context, women are at risk of a range of human rights abuses. These include gender-based discrimination in access to economic resources, education and employment, poor reproductive health care, and exclusion from decision-making and participation in most peace processes. (…)
The debate was part of the ongoing effort to evaluate implementation of Resolution 1325, a landmark Security Council decision that followed many incremental precedents in the advancement of women’s human rights, and subsequent resolutions that make up the WPS framework. The discussions held at this session made it clear that, while progress has been made with regards to upholding women’s rights and ensuring equal participation, there is still much progress to be made, especially as it concerns women who are refugees or IDPs. The experience of women IDPs in countries plagued by atrocities such as Syria, the Central African Republic, and South Sudan demonstrate the stunning lack of progress, as well as a failure of national authorities to uphold their primary responsibility to protect displaced persons within their borders.
Read the full blog here.
Civil Society Groups Report Increased Risk and Occurrence of Atrocities in Syria, Central African Republic, and Burma/Myanmar
Report Cites Evidence of War Crimes in Myanmar
International Human Rights Clinic
6 November 2014
A new report by the International Human Rights Clinic studies the 2005-2008 military offensive by the Government of Myanmar against ethnic Karen fighters along the Thai border. According to the authors, the “widespread and systematic attacks directed against civilians during the offensive justify war-crime prosecutions.” Though the authors recognize that both sides to the conflict perpetrated human rights abuses, the report only describes violations by the military. Itcharges the military with “firing mortars at villages; opening fire on fleeing villagers, destroying homes, crops, and food stores, laying land mines in civilian locations; forcing civilians to work and porter; and capturing and executing civilians” during the Karen offensive.
Read the International Human Rights Clinic report here. For updates on the Rakhine State and the Rohingya, read International Crisis Group’s report “The Politics of Rakhine State.”
For more on the Crisis in Burma, read our crisis page and our Q & A: The Responsibility to Protect and Burma.
CAR: The Time for Hard Questions
International Crisis Group
4 November 2014
A new blog by ICRtoP Member Crisis Group’s Thierry Vircoulin describes how the recent violent events in Bangui, the lawless countryside, and the Cameroon border are symptoms of a worrisome “breakdown of the international community’s security arrangements and of CAR’s interim government itself.”
According to Vircoulin, “all the elements of a long crisis seem to be in place: a peacekeeping force which does not yet appear to deter violence; an ineffective transitional authority; disagreement among outside actors; impunity; and fragmentation of the armed groups.” He identifies six questions the international community must grapple with in order to ensure a successful transition in CAR, including whether the transition’s institutional framework is still relevant, whether a rushed election will only serve to deepen a crisis, and what military/police capacity is required to stabilize the situation.
Read the full blog here. To read more about the political problems in CAR, read the recent piece by Evan Cinq-Mars, of ICRtoP member The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, “Political Deadlock and Impunity Fuel Central African Republic Killings” in IPI.
Syria: ISIS Tortured Kobani Child Hostages
Human Rights Watch
4 November 2014
New interviews conducted by ICRtoP Member Human Rights Watch demonstrate that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS, Islamic State, or Da’esh) tortured and abused Kurdish children from the Syrian border town of Kobane during the children’s four months of captivity. According to the interviewees, the boys sustained repeated beatings and were compelled to watch footage of ISIS beheadings and attacks. Human Rights Watch recalled that “taking hostages is a war crime under international humanitarian law” and that the “war crime of torture…is the infliction of severe physical or mental pain or suffering for purposes such as obtaining information or a confession, punishment, intimidation, or coercion.” The organization further urged swift action by governments to implement UN Security Council resolutions designed to cut off support for ISIL.
Read the full article here.