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19 April 2007
Responsibility to Protect Engaging Civil Society
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In this issue: [UN Action on Darfur; Key Public Figures on Darfur and R2P: Resolution on Rapid Reaction Force mentions R2P]

I. UN Action on Darfur


II. Key Public Figures on Darfur and R2P

III. Resolution Mentions R2P In Endorsement Of Rapid Reaction Force
1.UNA-USA Resolution Endorses Rapid Reaction Force

I. UN Action on Darfur

By Edith M. Lederer
Associated Press Online
18 April 2007

The United Nations and African Union announced a two-pronged plan to bring peace to conflict-wracked Darfur, pledging Tuesday to move "expeditiously" to deploy 3,000 U.N. peacekeepers while intensifying efforts to achieve a political settlement.

Moves to speed deployment came as a confidential U.N. report charged that the government of Sudan has been flying arms and heavy military equipment into Darfur in violation of Security Council resolutions, according to a report in The New York Times.

()At the end of two days of meetings, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and AU chief executive Alpha Oumar Konare asked their envoys who have been trying to promote a political settlement to prepare "a roadmap" to bring all rebel groups to the peace table.

"There will be a two-track approach," Ban said. The U.N. and AU want "a more detailed and workable roadmap for a political process, so that this political process and military operation can proceed hand-in-hand."
After five months of stalling, Sudan sent a letter to Ban just before the start of Monday's AU-U.N. meeting giving a green light for the deployment of the U.N.'s so-called "heavy support package" to help the beleaguered 7,000-strong African Union force in Darfur. It includes 2,250 U.N. troops, 750 international police, and logistical and aviation equipment including six helicopter gunships which Khartoum initially opposed.
() According to The New York Times, the confidential report said that military planes used by Sudan to transport the arms were painted white to disguise them as United Nations or African Union aircraft and were being used for aerial surveillance and bombardments of villages, in addition to cargo transport.

() The panel's report said the Khartoum government had done little to disband armed groups and described a nighttime attack by men wearing Sudanese armed forces uniforms and traveling in 60 Land Cruisers mounted with rocket propelled grenades and machine guns on a village, according to the paper.

() "We have also agreed to intensify our political process, embracing all rebel leaders," Ban said. "We hope that the government of Sudan and the rebel groups will be committed to an ongoing political process."

Full text is available at:

By Colum Lynch,
Washington Post
17 April 2007

UNITED NATIONS -- Sudan agreed yesterday to allow more than 3,000 heavily armed UN and African peacekeepers in Darfur to reinforce a beleaguered African Union force of 7,000 that has struggled to prevent the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of civilians during the past four years. But UN officials said it could be more than six months before foreign troops land in Darfur.

Still, yesterday's agreement marked a critical new phase in a plan to gradually expand the United Nations' presence and power in Darfur, where government-backed militia stand accused of killing 200,000 to 400,000 civilians and driving more than 2.5 million from their homes. The United Nations ultimately hopes to oversee a joint UN-AU force with more than 20,000 soldiers, police, and civil servants.

()UN officials say yesterday's announcement would shift attention from Khartoum to the UN effort to assemble a peacekeeping force. The top UN peacekeeping official, Jean-Marie Guihenno, will meet Thursday with representatives of governments considering sending troops to Darfur. So far, the United Nations has faced resistance from potential contributing countries who are loath to have their troops serve under the African Union. UN military planners are also awaiting the arrival of some 1,500 AU troops to Darfur to provide additional security for the new force.

() Sudan has opposed a full-fledged UN mission in Darfur out of concern that it would arrest Sudanese officials accused of war crimes by the International Criminal Court. It has also raised concern about the right of foreign peacekeepers to use force to protect civilians. "It is our responsibility to protect the civilians; nobody can take it from us," said Sudan's ambassador to the United Nations, Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad. "This is a sovereign right."

Full text is available at:

II. Key Public Figures on Darfur and R2P

By Eric Reeves
Boston Globe
April 16, 2007

Steven Spielberg surely doesn't favor the continuing genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan, but he still needs to explain himself.

The acclaimed film director has chosen to play a central, hands-on role in orchestrating the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. Besides Spielberg, China has enlisted other well-known artists such as director Ang Lee, Australian Ric Birch, and Frenchman Yves Pepin to add flash to the spectacle.

Oddly, Spielberg has declared publicly that while aware of genocide in Darfur, he only recently became aware of China's involvement. But the facts are no secret. Beijing has unstintingly provided large-scale economic, military, and diplomatic support to the Islamist regime in Sudan's capital, Khartoum. Spielberg has now sent a letter urging China to use its influence constructively. But that gesture is not enough.

()The only way to change conditions on the ground in Darfur is to break the diplomatic deadlock that emboldens Khartoum. China is the key. But its diplomacy has been governed by the principle of not interfering in a sovereign nation's internal affairs -- even when such affairs include the gravest of crimes.

This flies in the face of the emerging legal norm: a responsibility to protect civilians who are the unprotected victims of genocide, ethnic cleansing, or crimes against humanity. China voted for this principle at the UN World Summit in 2005, and again in a Security Council resolution in 2006. But China's vast commercial interests in Sudan have rendered this principle meaningless.

()Beijing is paying no price for shielding Khartoum. By diplomatically underwriting Khartoum's intransigence, China has become deeply culpable in the Darfur genocide.

The 2008 Beijing Olympics are the only lever the international community can use to change China's ways. The event's motto "one world, one dream" is a grim irony amid the nightmare of Darfur.

The question for Spielberg, then, is how much China's culpability matters to him. How does he feel about his own complicity in a vast public relations effort by China? This is Beijing's most ambitious attempt at full international legitimacy since the Tiananmen Square massacres (never mind the destruction of Tibet and domestic human rights abuses). ()

Full text available at:

By Sean McKibbon
Sun Media
16 April 2007

Western nations must intervene to stop genocide in other countries whether or not there is a strategic or economic payoff, Sen. Romeo Dallaire told Saint Paul University grads yesterday.

() The retired lieutenant-general, who as commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda in 1994, saw first-hand the horrific consequences of inaction by Western powers, who he said abandoned Rwandans to genocide.

"Sub-Saharan Africa has been the lowest priority," he said, and yet places such as Rwanda, the Congo and Darfur need the intervention of other countries.

The problem, he said, is in finding the political will.

"Can we absorb the loss of soldiers when there is no self-interest?" he asked.

() "Genocide is a decision by people who are normally logical and living perfectly normal lives to kill 1,200,000 people," Dallaire said. He said the decision was not made in a state of insanity, but was a calculated decision by people who felt it would solve their political problems.

"That kind of decision has got to be eradicated," he said.

Dallaire said there is a responsibility to protect and he approves of Canada's role in Afghanistan.

He pointed to the quick response to the violence in the former Yugoslavia as a prime example of how self-interest and race can make all the difference. ()

Full text available at:

Gareth Evans
13 April 2007

The following are excerpts from a presentation delivered by Gareth Evans, President of the International Crisis Group, to Panel Discussion on The Responsibility to Protect: Ensuring Effective Protection of Populations under Threat of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, Program to Commemorate 1994 Rwandan Genocide, United Nations

() To focus the ongoing discussion, I want to make, as succinctly as I can, five main points:

  • the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) principle remains the best starting point we have, or are ever likely to have in preventing and responding to genocides and mass atrocities;

  • we need to recognise, nonetheless, that the R2P principle is still at risk, and have to work hard to hold the line against backsliding;

  • even with the R2P principle itself firmly consolidated, there is still unfinished conceptual business to attend to;

  • there is much unfinished practical, capacity-building business to attend to; and
    there is unfinished political business to attend to.

1. R2P as the Starting Point

() It was only with the report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) in 2001 for which we can thank our Canadian co-hosts here today that a broadly acceptable conceptual solution at last appeared, with the emergence of the principle of the responsibility to protect.

There were at least two great advantages of this formulation over any previous attempt to solve the dilemma. The first was that it made clear that sovereign states remained the primary actors it was their primary responsibility to protect, with the help of others as appropriate, their own peoples, and it was only if they were unable or unwilling to exercise that responsibility that any responsibility shifted to the wider international community. The second was that it made absolutely clear in the way that proponents of umanitarian intervention did not that non-consensual military intervention was absolutely a last resort, and that R2P was about much more than that: it was about the responsibility to prevent, the responsibility to react (by a whole variety of strategies, diplomatic, political, economic, legal and, only in really extreme cases, military) and about the responsibility to rebuild shattered societies after catastrophic breakdowns had occurred. ()

2. R2P Still at Risk

My second point is that, for all the acceptance that R2P has won, those gains are still at some risk of drifting away, on the one hand in the face of continued hostility by enemies of the concept, and on the other hand as a result of misguided support for it by some of those who call themselves its friends.

The assault from the enemies is familiar enough. It comes for a start from those countries who continue have something to hide or be ashamed about in terms of their own internal behaviour and are deeply reluctant to acknowledge, as a result any limitations on their sovereignty ()
Trouble from those who say they are friends of R2P comes in two other ways. First, from those who play into the hands of the ideological critics I have just mentioned by being far too ready to think of R2P situations only in military terms. ()

The more troubling friends of R2P are those false friends who have misapplied it to justify military intervention in circumstances where this was plainly wrong. ()

3. Unfinished Conceptual Business

An important piece of unfinished business in this respect, and this is my third point, is the need to spell out with absolute precision what are the circumstances in which non-consensual military force can, and cannot, be used in a way that is consistent with R2P principles.

() We accordingly identified a set of prudential criteria in this respect which we argued should be adopted by the Security Council. These were the seriousness of the harm being threatened (which would need to involve large scale loss of life or ethnic cleansing to prima facie justify something as extreme as military action); the motivation or primary purpose of the proposed military action (whether it was primarily to halt or avert the threat in question, or had some other main objective); whether there were reasonably available peaceful alternatives; the proportionality of the response; and, not least, the balance of consequences whether overall more good than harm would be done by a military invasion.

4. Unfinished Practical Business

If R2P is not to remain more theoretical than real, we must somehow solve the problem of capacity, ensuring that the right civilian and, as necessary, military resources are always there in the right amounts and with the appropriate capability. ()

We need stronger early warning coordination and response machinery at the centre with the UN Secretary General having a Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide and other Mass Atrocities reporting to him ()

We need effective diplomatic capacity ready and available to negotiate and mediate those situations which are capable of being stopped by effective early intervention of this kind.

We need a repertoire of carefully thoughthrough sanctions measures, with an effective, professionally resourced, mechanism ready to be put in place immediately to monitor the application and effectiveness of those sanctions.

We need a full range of civilian capabilities, especially effective policing, on permanent standby, with the capacity to be immediately deployed

And we do also need effective preparedness to mount military operations for civilian protection purposes ()

Another crucial practical operational issue is to address the question, up until now almost completely neglected by the worlds militaries, of developing detailed concepts of these R2P/ civilian protection operations ()

5. Unfinished Political Business

As always, generating the political will to act both in putting in place the necessary capacity-building measure, and then in responding with all that machinery to particular new crisis situations as they arise is the biggest and hardest piece of unfinished business.
All of us have a role in this respect. It is a matter of not just top-down effort with key officials in key governments, and those who can influence them directly (as hopefully we in Crisis Group can) making the effort to persuade and mobilise their peers in the international community to take the necessary action in the UN Security Council and elsewhere. Its also a matter of bottom-up mobilisation: making the voices of ordinary concerned citizens heard in the corridors of power.

My own view, which I know is shared by many government and NGO representatives here today, is that it is time to build a new institutional structure to advance politically the R2P agenda. What is needed is a structure perhaps we could call it the lobal Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect (GCR2P for short) is a structure which draws together civil society organizations to liaise with like-minded governments and international organizations to recommend strategy, coordinate efforts, identify gaps, build political will, and serve as an information clearing house on R2P. Ideally it would have a group of distinguished international patrons maybe one from each continent and an effective working secretariat based here in New York, not trying to tightly control campaign and related activity, both top-down and bottom-up, but helping to guide and coordinate it. Discussions along these lines have commenced between a number of organisations, and I believe its in all our interests that something of this kind comes together over the next few months. ()

Full text is available at:

New York
29 April 2007

Reception with Don Cheadle and John Prendergast celebrating the Launch of their new book, ot on Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond

Public Restaurant
210 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY
(cocktail reception/fundraiser, ticketed event)

For more information and how to RSVP, Click:

This book is recognition of the amazing response by youth groups, religious organizations, politicians and individuals to the crisis in western Sudan. We hope this book serves to guide those already involved, as well as those who are interested in taking action or speaking out against the mass killings that continue to occur in Darfur.

The reception also acknowledges the creation of ENOUGH, a joint initiative of the Center for American Progress and the International Crisis Group. ENOUGH seeks to strengthen the efforts of grassroots activists, policymakers, advocates, concerned journalists, and others by giving them up-to-date field-based information on Darfur, eastern Congo, and northern Uganda, and offering practical pressure points to end the violence.

Sponsored by ENOUGH, the project to abolish genocide + mass atrocities

III. Resolution Mentions R2P in Endorsement Of Rapid Reaction Force

1. UNA-USA Resolution Endorses Rapid Reaction Force
S.10 Supporting UN Peacekeeping Forces

The following is an excerpted copy of a resolution adopted by the United Nations Association of the USA at the 2007 Biennial National Convention at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City held between 28 February and 4 March 2007.

The National Convention of the United Nations Association of the United States of America,

Recalling () that the UN should be capable of fielding a fully operational peacekeeping operation within thirty days of a Security Council resolution; and

Recognizing that the faithful implementation of the Responsibility to Protect requires that the UN have timely access to sufficient numbers of well trained and equipped peacekeeping forces and requires that the Security Council act promptly to authorize appropriate actions implementing the doctrine;


Strongly encourages the United States government to ensure that the UN Peacebuilding Commission and the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations have access to adequate financial and staff resources;

Urges the member states of the UN, in cooperation with the Secretary-General, to establish at the behest of the Security Council an intervention capacity consisting of well trained and equipped peacekeeping forces capable of being deployed rapidly and enjoying, as part of this capacity, the logistical means to accomplish such deployments; ()

Full text is available at:


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