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27 November 2007
Responsibility to Protect Engaging Civil Society
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In this issue: [Eminent Persons Make Statements Referencing R2P; Featured Reports on R2P and The Crisis in Burma/Myanmar]

I. Eminent Persons Make Statements Referencing R2P
II. Featured Reports on R2P
III. The Crisis in Burma/Myanmar

I. Eminent Persons Make Statements Referencing R2P

United Nations Security Council
20 November 2007

Following is the text of remarks by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the Security Council during its debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, today, 20 November:

Let me begin by expressing my gratitude to you for chairing this important debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict.

Today is a fitting day for such a meeting. On this day in 1945, the Trial of the Major War Criminals began at Nuremberg. The Nuremberg Trials had a profound influence on the development of international law. They had an important bearing on the notion of individual criminal responsibility for atrocities committed against civilians in armed conflict. They underlined that, even in war, certain acts are unacceptable. And they reflected the world's conviction that civilians are entitled to protection.

Sixty-two years later, civilians continue to pay a dreadful toll in today's conflicts -- in Sudan, Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

In these and other conflicts, large numbers of civilians -- women, girls, boys and men -- suffer unimaginable violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

() That is why the protection of civilians is and must remain an absolute priority. For me as Secretary-General. For the United Nations. For this Council. And, above all, for the Member States, with whom rests the primary responsibility for protecting civilians.

() At the World Summit in 2005, all the world's Governments agreed in principle to the responsibility to protect. I will work with Member States and civil society to translate this concept from word to deed -- to ensure timely action when populations face genocide, ethnic cleansing or crimes against humanity.

This Council has taken a number of important steps -- including the adoption last year of resolution 1674 (2006) on the protection of civilians. The resolution establishes an important framework for action. Here too, we must now work together to translate the text into real action.

In my report, I have tried to show ways in which this may be done. The Emergency Relief Coordinator will elaborate on these recommendations in greater detail. However, allow me to mention one of the proposals -- the establishment of a Security Council working group on the protection of civilians.

I believe the establishment of such a group is an important next step, perhaps even an inevitable next step, in the evolution of the Council's consideration of the protection of civilians. It would not only underline the Council's commitment to this cause, it would give practical meaning to your commitment. It would ensure more timely and systematic consideration of the protection of civilians in the Council's deliberations. And it would assist the Council to move decisively towards practical implementation.

And that, ultimately, is where the Council's words must have the most meaning -- on the ground, in support of the affected civilians who need protection from the shocking indignities of armed conflict.

The plight of children in armed conflict is particularly disturbing. () Every year, thousands of children are killed and wounded as a direct result of fighting. And the number of child soldiers around the world is estimated at 250,000.

() The Council has mandated peacekeeping operations to assist with the protection of civilians within the limits of their capabilities and areas of deployment. It is critical that peacekeeping operations be empowered with resources and political support to implement their mandates. I see Darfur as a test case, where all concerned must collectively meet the challenges of deploying an effective mission and achieving a peace agreement.

() I trust you will have a fruitful debate on this vital issue, which is key to achieving sustainable peace around the world.

Full text available:

UN News Centre
15 November 2007

A new culture of international relations based on the principles of full respect for human rights, human security, the responsibility to protect and the promotion of sustainable development is necessary, General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim said today.

Speaking to reporters about the work so far of the sixty-second session of the 192-member Assembly, Mr. Kerim said those principles should drive discussions about all the key issues faced by the international community.

he world needs more software than hardware in dealing with each other, Mr. Kerim said, stressing the importance of the values enshrined in the United Nations Charter.

his new culture of international relations should be based on full respect of human rights, human security, the responsibility to protect and sustainable development. All this issues are intertwined, interrelated.r
The priority issues for the Assembly this session remain climate change, financing for development, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), counter-terrorism and UN reform, he said.

Since it began in September the session had been generally conducted in spirit of good cooperation, good faith and constructive dialogue.r
() Mr. Kerim also highlighted a series of events taking place during this session, including: a joint event next week with the Inter-Parliamentary Union on reinforcing the rule of law in international relations; a high-level meeting next month on children; and a separate high-level meeting on the HIV/AIDS pandemic and its impact on the attainment of the MDGs, the ambitious set of goals for reducing poverty and other social ills, all by 2015.

Full text available at:

The Guardian
13 November 2007

The text of prime minister Gordon Brown's foreign policy speech:

Tonight, I want to speak about Britain's unique place in the new world.

And where, as a result, our responsibilities lie; How our national interest can be best advanced; And what we can achieve by working together internationally and by contributing to building the strongest and broadest sense of common purpose.

The new context

() In 1989 the old world order dominated by the Cold War came to an end.

But how quickly events have disproved those who celebrated the end of the Cold War as 'the end of history'.

From Bosnia to Darfur, Rwanda to Afghanistan we have seen a level of disorder and uncertainty that no-one predicted.

() Our international institutions built for just 50 sheltered economies in what became a bipolar world are not fit for purpose in an interdependent world of

200 states where global flows of commerce, people and ideas defy borders.

With such transformative change comes a clear obligation, but also a great opportunity, to write a new chapter to set down for a new era a better 21st century way of delivering peace and prosperity.

New forces at work

Of course the first duty of Government - our abiding obligation - is and will always be the safety of the British people, the protection of the British national interest.

() First, few expected when the adamantine certainties of the Cold War came to an end, we would have to address the constantly changing uncertainties of violence and instability from failed states and rogue states.

() Today a nation's self interest today will be found not in isolation but in cooperation to overcome shared challenges.

And so the underlying issue for our country - indeed for every country - is how together in this new interdependent world we renew and strengthen our international rules, institutions and networks.

My approach is hard-headed internationalism:

internationalist because global challenges need global solutions and nations must cooperate across borders - often with hard-headed intervention - to give expression to our shared interests and shared values;

hard-headed because we will not shirk from the difficult long term decisions and because only through reform of our international rules and institutions will we achieve concrete, on-the-ground results.

Building a global society means agreeing that the great interests we share in common are more powerful than the issues that sometimes divide us.

It means articulating and acting upon the enduring values that define our common humanity and transcending ideologies of hatred that seek to drive us apart.

And critically - and this is the main theme of my remarks this evening - we must bring to life these shared interests and shared values by practical proposals to create the architecture of a new global society. (...)

A new framework for security and reconstruction

Today, there is still a gaping hole in our ability to address the illegitimate threats and use of force against innocent peoples.

It is to the shame of the whole world that the international community failed to act to prevent genocide in Rwanda.

We now rightly recognise our responsibility to protect behind borders where there are crimes against humanity.

But if we are to honour that responsibility to protect we urgently need a new framework to assist reconstruction.

With the systematic use of earlier Security Council action, proper funding of peacekeepers, targeted sanctions - and their ratcheting up to include the real threat of international criminal court actions - we must now set in place the first internationally agreed procedures to prevent breakdowns of states and societies.

But where breakdowns occur, the UN - and regional bodies such as the EU and African Union - must now also agree to systematically combine traditional emergency aid and peacekeeping with stabilisation, reconstruction and development.

There are many steps the international community can assist with on the ladder from insecurity and conflict to stability and prosperity. So I propose that, in future, Security Council peacekeeping resolutions and UN Envoys should make stablisation, reconstruction and development an equal priority; that the international community should be ready to act with a standby civilian force including police and judiciary who can be deployed to rebuild civic societies; and that to repair damaged economies we sponsor local economic development agencies in each area the international community able to offer a practical route map from failure to stability.

() The injustices people inflict on one another are not god-given but manmade and we have it in our power to become the first generation in history to deliver to every child the long overdue basic right to education. And today we also have the science and medicine to be the first generation to eradicate the preventable diseases of TB, polio, diphtheria and malaria -- and eventually to cure HIV and AIDS.

And with a special UN meeting next year, it is my personal commitment to work with all people of goodwill to achieve these goals.

By history and conviction, we - Britain - are bearers of the indispensable idea of individual dignity and mutual respect.

But we act to build a different, better world because we judge that it too is the best defence of our own future.

We know that Britain cannot be a safe and prosperous island in a turbulent and divided world.

A better world is our best security, our national interest best advanced by shared international endeavour.

So this is our message - to ourselves, our allies, potential adversaries and people who, no matter how distant, are now our neighbours: Our hard-headed internationalism means we will never retreat from our responsibilities.

At all times justice in jeopardy, security at risk, suffering that cries out will command our concern.

() For the pressing challenge for Britain and for the international community is to harness these insights in a sustained endeavour to reform and renew our global rules, institutions and networks.

Upon this rests our shared future: - a truly global society empowering people everywhere; - not yet here but in this century within our grasp.

Full text of speech available at:

Commentary on the speech available at:,,2210045,00.html

II. Featured Reports on R2P

Alex De Waal
International Affairs
November 2007

When official representatives of more than 170 countries adopted the principle of the 'responsibility to protect' at the September 2005 World Summit, Darfur was quickly identified as the test case for this new doctrine.

The general verdict is that the international community has failed the test due to lack of political will. This paper argues that the failure is real but that it is more fundamentally located within the doctrine of R2P itself. Fulfilling the aspiration of R2P demands an international protection capability that does not exist now and cannot be realistically expected. The critical weakness in R2P is that the 'responsibility to react' has been framed as coercive protection, which attempts to be a middle way-between classic peacekeeping and outright military intervention, which can be undertaken without the consent of the host government.

() Following an introductory section providing background to the war in Darfur and international engagement, this paper examines the debates over the R2P that swirled around the Darfur crisis and operational concepts developed in the security arrangements negotiations in the Abuja peace talks on the conflict. The international policy priority of bringing UN troops to Darfur had an adverse impact on those peace negotiations without grappling with the central question of what international forces would do to resolve the crisis. ()

Full article available at:

Centre for Conflict Resolution
University of Cape Town, South Africa
November 2007

his report addresses the responsibility to protect principle the legal and ethical commitment by the international community, acting through organisations such as the UN and Africas regional organisations, to protect citizens from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and/or ethnic cleansing. The degree to which the responsibility to protect citizens has been adhered to by national governments within and outside the continent is assessed; and experiences and lessons from recent conflicts in Africa are reviewed and analysed.

Full report available at:

Human Rights Center
November 2007

This new report, "The Responsibility to Protect (R2P): Moving the Campaign Forward," was released by the Human Rights Center and prepared in collaboration with the International Human Rights Law Clinic and the Religion, Politics, and Globalization Program at UC Berkeley. The report follows the conference on R2P in which you participated this spring and aims to provide background research for the newly founded Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, housed at the Ralph Bunche Institute at CUNY Graduate School.

Full report available at:

III. The Crisis in Burma/Myanmar

Edith M. Lederer
Chicago Tribune
21 November 2007

A U.N. General Assembly committee approved a draft resolution Tuesday strongly condemning the Myanmar government's crackdown on peaceful protesters and calling on the military junta to immediately release political prisoners.

The vote in the assembly's human rights committee was 88-24 with 66 abstentions. The resolution now needs the backing of the 192-nation world body. General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding but they do reflect world opinion.

The draft resolution calls on Myanmar's military government "to desist from further arrests and violence against peaceful protesters" and to lift "all restraints on the peaceful political activity of all persons by ... guaranteeing freedom of peaceful assembly and association and freedom of opinion and expression."

It also calls on the junta to provide U.N. special adviser Ibrahim Gambari with unrestricted access to all parties -- including ethnic minority representatives, student leaders and dissident monks -- and to engage with him to achieve "effective progress towards the restoration of democracy and the protection of human rights in Myanmar."

Gambari, who visited Myanmar earlier this month, said last week he was making progress in nudging Myanmar's military junta toward meaningful dialogue with the pro-democracy opposition. But he acknowledged there were "serious concerns" about "the willingness of the government to move forward in a new direction."

Myanmar, also known as Burma, tried to block a vote on the draft resolution, proposing a motion of "no action" instead. It was defeated by a vote of 88 against to 54 in favor, with 34 abstentions.

Myanmar's U.N. Ambassador U Kyaw Tint Swe called the draft resolution, supported by the United States and many Western countries, "objectionable both on grounds of procedure as well as substance."

Procedurally, he said if it was really necessary, the issue should be dealt with by the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.

() Myanmar's government has been strongly criticized for sending troops to quash peaceful protests, initially led by students and then by Buddhist monks, in late September.

At least 15 people were killed, according to information authorities provided to U.N. human rights investigator Paulo Sergio Pinheiro. Dissidents and diplomats suspect the true figure is much higher.

() Calling the challenges facing Myanmar "complex and delicate," he said the U.N. should be allowed "time and space to play a catalytic role in consolidating the national reconciliation process."

The draft resolution calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners, including pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been in detention for 12 of the last 18 years.

Myanmar's military has ruled the country since 1962. The current junta took power in 1988 after crushing the democracy movement led by Suu Kyi. In 1990, it refused to hand over power when Suu Kyi's party won a landslide election victory.

Full text available at:,1,6258508.story?ctrack=1&cset=true


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