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19 July 2007
Responsibility to Protect Engaging Civil Society
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In this issue: [R2P in the News; Recent Statements by Kofi Annan on R2P; R2P and Darfur]

I. R2P in the News
II. Recent Statements by Kofi Annan on R2P
III. R2P and Darfur

I. R2P in the News

By Paul D. Williams
The Center for Strategic and International Studies Africa Policy Forum
13 July 2007

Recent changes in the normative landscape of Africas international relations provide both opportunities and challenges for U.S. policymakers charged with protecting U.S. security interests on the continent. In the last decade, the security culture of the African Union (AU) has developed in some relatively radical ways. These have created new opportunities for furthering a long-term U.S. strategy aimed at promoting democratization and curbing the excesses of state power that have done so much to destabilize Africa. There are also new opportunities to advance the responsibility to protect (R2P) agenda adopted by the United Nations General Assembly World Summit in 2005. This agenda commits individual states and the international community to protecting populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity. If successfully implemented in Africa, R2P would make a tremendous contribution to promoting stability and peace.

()The Bush administration was rather reluctant to endorse the R2P agenda. To date, much of the public debate has revolved around the most controversial R2P issue what the International Commission on State Sovereignty and Intervention (ICISS) referred to as the responsibility to react in the case of Darfur. This quickly produced a diplomatic dead-end as it became clear that there was no international consensus on which actors had the secondary responsibility to protect Darfurs endangered civilians after the Government of Sudan proved itself either unwilling or unable to do so.

A more productive approach would be to invest greater effort in supporting African institutions designed to help promote the less well-advertised elements of the R2P agenda, namely, the responsibilities to prevent and to rebuild. Instead of planning controversial military actions aimed at elusive terrorist targets in Somalia, the United States could better promote the R2P agenda by tasking its diplomatic A-team to devote some serious and sustained attention to conflict prevention and mediation efforts around the continent. Beyond the current focus on Sudan, Somalia and Algeria, good places to start engaging in serious mediation would be Guinea, Chad, Central African Republic, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe. As the Darfur Peace Agreement (May 2006) aptly demonstrates, parachuting in diplomatic heavyweights late in the process and expecting them to produce viable peace agreements on the basis of timetables fixed in Washington D.C. is not only nave but risks alienating the parties with whom an agreement will need to be devised.

Arguably, the single most important institution in this regard is the AUs Peace and Security Council (PSC). Yet this remains massively under-resourced. Three years after its official launch, PSC officials are too few in number and swamped with massively complicated security challenges. Many are working on precarious short-term contracts and without sufficient administrative and technical support. The United States and other powerful states could play a constructive role by helping to make working for the PSC Secretariat an attractive career option, thereby attracting (and retaining) the continents best minds. What would be small change in U.S. budgetary terms could make a significant difference to this important new institution. Over time, a PSC Secretariat staffed by committed experts might just develop some of the autonomous bureaucratic power needed to encourage African governments to live up to their commitments under the R2P agenda. The R2P agenda will make greatest headway in Africa when it is promoted by local rather than foreign voices.

In the last decade, African governments have changed the stated objectives embodied in the continents primary organization in significant ways. The AUs new security culture provides the most fertile terrain to date on which to promote democracy and the responsibility to protect in Africa. As a country that claims to support both, the United States should focus less on short-term agendas related to the war on terror and oil, and more on supporting African institutions that might one day be able to nurture both democracy and peace without relying on outside support. The means that Washington chooses to employ today will shape the ends we can expect to see in Africa tomorrow.

Full text available at:

Joseph S Nye, Jr
The Daily Times
12 July 2007

With 192 members and a mandate that covers everything from security to refugees to public health, the United Nations is the worlds only global organisation. But polls in the United States show that two-thirds of Americans think the UN is doing a poor job, and many believe it was tarnished by corruption during the Iraq oil-for-food programme under Saddam Hussein. Many also blame the UN for failing to solve the Middle Easts myriad problems.

But such views reflect a misunderstanding of the UNs nature. The UN is more an instrument of its member states than an independent actor in world politics.

True, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon can make speeches, convene meetings, and propose actions, but his role is more secretary than general. Sometimes likened to a ecular Pope, the UN Secretary General can wield the soft power of persuasion but little hard economic or military power.

What hard power the UN has must be begged and borrowed from the member states. And when they cannot agree on a course of action, it is difficult for the organisation to operate. As one wag has put it, e have met the UN and it is us! When blame is assigned, much of it belongs to the members.

()There are now roughly 100,000 troops from various countries wearing UN blue helmets around the world. Peacekeeping has had its ups and downs. Bosnia and Rwanda were failures in the 1990s, and then Secretary General Kofi Annan proposed reforms to deal with genocide and mass killings.

In September 2005, the states in the UN General Assembly accepted the existence of a responsibility to protect vulnerable peoples. In other words, governments could no longer treat their citizens however they wanted.

A new Peace-building Commission was also created to coordinate actions that could help prevent a recurrence of genocidal acts. In East Timor, for example, the UN proved vital in the transition to independence, and it is now working out plans for the governments of Burundi and Sierra Leone. In the DRC, peacekeeping forces have not been able to curb all violence, but they have helped to save lives. The current test case is the situation in Sudans Darfur region, where diplomats are trying to establish a joint peacekeeping force under the UN and the African Union.

In the poisonous political atmosphere that has bedeviled the UN after the Iraq War, widespread disillusionment is not surprising. Ban Ki Moon has a tough job. But, rather than calling the UN into question, states are likely to find that they need such a global instrument, with its unique convening and legitimising powers. While the UN system is far from perfect, the world would be a poorer and more disorderly place without it.

Full text available at:

Ban Ki-Moon
hy the United Nations Matters Today and Tomorrowr 11 July 2007

()Ladies and Gentlemen,

Security and development are two pillars of the UN's work. We must make human rights our third pillar -- not only on the drawing board, but in reality, on the ground. This will require dedicated attention to the Human Rights Council, to ensure that it delivers on its promise, and shines a spotlight on the darkest places in the world. And it will require moving the Responsibility to Protect from word to deed. We must build consensus among Member States about how we can make this concept operational, when a population is threatened with genocide, ethnic cleansing, or crimes against humanity, and national authorities fail to take appropriate action. I will appoint a Special Advisor to move that process forward. I have already appointed full-time Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities. ()

Full text available at:

II. Recent Statements by Kofi Annan on R2P

The Manila Times
14 July 2007

Former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan said Friday that Southeast Asian countries should pressure military-ruled Myanmar to improve its human rights record.

() sean does have a policy of non-interference, Annan said during a two-day visit to Malaysia, another country in the bloc.

ut Asean member states also belong to the UN [and therefore] accept the responsibility to protect their citizens from gross violations of human rights and protect them from crimes against humanity, he said.

here are certain crimes that we cannot say: it is somebody elses responsibility, they should resolve it. We should all feel compelled to act, he said.

The United States and the European Union earlier this year renewed sanctions first introduced about 10 years ago against Myanmar over rights violations.

But Asean Secretary-General Ong Keng Yong said last month that sanctions were not working and that the bloc would have to find another way to engage the country.

Full text available at:

Kofi Annan
haring the Dividends of Development with the World: Thoughts on Malaysian Merdekar Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
12 July 2007

()Protecting human rights and abiding by the rule of law is first and foremost a national responsibility. But many states need help in doing this, and the UN system and regional organizations have a vital role to play. It is only when governments are grounded in the rule of law-fairly and consistently applied- that society can rest on a solid foundation. Leaders must ensure that the rules are respected-that they protect the rights and property of individual citizens. Leaders must also hold themselves to the same rules, the same restraints-never above them.

()One of my priorities as Secretary-General was to try making human rights central to all the UNs work. And in my view, the most pressing challenge today is the need to give real meaning to the principle of Responsibility to Protect.r
Adopted by world leaders less than two years ago, this doctrine means, in essence, that respect for national sovereignty can no longer be used as an excuse for inaction in the face of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity.

Some governments have tried to win support in the global South by caricaturing responsibility to protect, as a conspiracy by imperialist powers to take back the hard-won national sovereignty of formerly colonized peoples. This is utterly false.

We must do better. We must develop the responsibility to protect into a powerful international norm that is not only quoted by put into practice, whenever and wherever it is needed. I hope that Malaysias voice will be strong in this debate. ()

Full text available at:

III. R2P and Darfur

By Ken Bacon
Refugees International
16 July 2007

Omar al-Bashir, the [president] of Sudan, is famous for the ivide and conquer strategy [that] he uses to keep his opponents off-guard. Now the U.S. humanitarian community seems to using this tactic against itself, as divisions arise over the wisdom of imposing a no-fly zone over Darfur.

()Several humanitarian organizations and commentators publicly oppose a no-fly zone, saying that it would destroy the one international success in Darfurhe establishment of a humanitarian lifeline that is sustaining more than two million Darfurians displaced by violence.

Unfortunately, this debate is distracting and possibly destructive.

Mostaybe allumanitarian workers believe in the Responsibility to Protect, a doctrine that calls for a series of actions, starting with humanitarian aid and running through diplomacy, economic sanctions, and, if necessary, the use of military force, to compel a country to protect its own people or allow the UN and its members to do so. Military force is a last resort, but the threat of its use makes all the other actions more credible. For the last four years, humanitarian agencies have been urging the Bush administration and the UN to do more to end the death and displacement in Darfur, yet some are now afraidgainst all evidencehat the U.S. might precipitously impose a no-fly zone over Darfur. Announcing that we are unilaterally removing the threat of military action makes about as much sense as one team announcing that it wont throw any passes in a football game.

In its 2006 report o Save Darfur, the International Crisis Group argued that it is premature to use military force in Darfur because the UN and its members had not yet exhausted all diplomatic and other nonmilitary options to bring about an end to the fighting. That is still the case. Military force is not an appropriate or acceptable response, even to genocide, until all nonmilitary measures have been tried, but it would undermine the Responsibility to Protect to remove military force from the table at the beginning or in the middle of diplomatic negotiations.

The Responsibility to Protect is a new and fragile doctrine that needs to be strengthened, not weakened. The humanitarian community will hurt itself in the long runnd perhaps prolong the suffering of the very populations it seeks to protecty restricting responses under the Responsibility to Protect.

()Efforts by the U.S. and the UN to end the fighting in Darfur have been unimaginative, inconsistent and unsuccessful. It will not help the humanitarian community if we appear divided and uncertain about how best to pursue the Responsibility to Protect. We need to support policies that make diplomats more effective, not weaken them further.

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