Summary of the Clustered Interactive dialogue with the Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders
3 March 2016
On 3 March, the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) held a Clustered Interactive dialogue with the Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders, Michel Forst. Discussions focused on Adama Dieng’s progress thus far on managing and enhancing capacity for genocide prevention within the UN System. Mr. Dieng began by acknowledging the HRC’s adoption, last year, of important resolutions that have helped draw the world’s attention to the populations at risk in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Myanmar, and Syria. Though he welcomed such achievements, Dieng continued on by highlighting the “increasing and alarming disregard for international human rights and humanitarian law in many situations around the world.” The current state of human rights protection has led Mr. Dieng to fear that “human life [has] lost its value”. In closing, Dieng underlined the urgency of states building societies resilient to such violations, emphasizing that the protection of civilians must be our priority. He further encouraged the HRC to bring these issues to the table more often.
Member States largely showed their appreciation and support for the work of the Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, with many, including the Group of Friends of the Responsibility to Protect (GOF), Uruguay, Ireland, and the EU asking Dieng how the HRC could improve its current preventative mechanisms and cooperation regional organizations. Australia asked the Special Advisor how the HRC could further support the implementation of the first two Pillars of the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP, R2P) for the purposes of genocide prevention. South Africa spoke on behalf of the African group, welcoming the continued support of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) on the implementation of the ICGLR Protocol on the Prevention of Genocide, War Crimes, Crimes against Humanity and all Forms of Discrimination. The Republic of Korea offered its support for the work of the UN Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect and announced that it will be hosting an annual meeting of R2P focal points this year. Paraguay also revealed that it is currently in the process of establishing a National Commission for the prevention of genocide and mass atrocities that will have a focus on early warning information gathering.
Many states also showed support for ending impunity and unaccountability in post-conflict situations. Egypt declared that no person should receive preferential treatment or immunity from criminal or civil proceedings, while China suggested that installing the rule of law is integral to overall social progress. Furthermore, numerous states brought up the crucial role of regional actors and civil society in the mainstreaming of RtoP and other tools of atrocity prevention, with Panama highlighting the important role of the Latin American Network for the Prevention of Genocide in this regard.
Denmark delivered a statement on behalf of the GOF. It began by acknowledging the 2005 adoption of the World Summit Document, reflecting a historic commitment by the UN and its Member States to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing. The Group further encouraged the UN Office on Genocide Prevention and RtoP to continue to mainstream the RtoP norm within the UN system and drew attention to the UN Framework of Analysis for Atrocity Crimes, which can be a useful guide for assessing the risk of atrocity crimes and in assisting regional mechanisms and states to strengthen their capacities.
The following is a list of countries that delivered interventions:
Rwanda (on behalf of the Group of Friends of RtoP)
South Africa (on behalf of the African Group)
Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)
Republic of Korea