Please find below excerpts of commentary and news related to the outcome of the Summit, particularly the Responsibility to Protect and related measures, and next steps. This list includes:
-An article by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on positive outcomes of the Summit, referring to R2P as one of the most important successes;
-An article on Annans speech to UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees) highlighting the Summits commitments to humanitarian issues, including R2P;
-A statement by Mark Malloch Brown, Annans Chief of Staff, on restructuring the UN, and the role of R2P;
-An article on a speech by Stephen Stedman, a special advisor to the Secretary-General, on UN reform, and R2P;
-The European Parliament Resolution on the Summit Outcome, including an endorsement of R2P;
-Barbara Crossette on the importance of several outcomes of the Summit, especially R2P;
-An article on the possible benefits of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) to African nations, with a statement by UN Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari on the potential of the PBC to enforce R2P;
-An article quoting Stewart Patrick, a U.N. expert with the Center for Global Development, on the importance of R2P;
-A letter to the editor from UN Youth Association of Australia on the significance of R2P in the Summit;
-Information on a UN Security Council meeting highlighting the role of civil society organization in conflict prevention; and
-A new UN report on Children and Armed Conflict.
The UN Summit: A Glass At Least Half Full
By Kofi Annan
Financial Times Information
Global News Wire - Asia Africa Intelligence Wire
The Jakarta Post
September 23, 2005
The "outcome document" adopted last Friday, at the end of the United Nations world summit, has been described as "disappointing" or "watered down". This is true in part -- and I said as much in my own speech to the summit on Wednesday. But, taken as a whole, the document is still a remarkable expression of world unity on a wide range of issues.
It contains decisions to strengthen the UN's capacity for peacekeeping, peacemaking and peacebuilding, including a detailed blueprint for a new peacebuilding commission, to ensure a more coherent and sustained international effort to build lasting peace in war-torn countries.
It includes decisions to strengthen the office, and double the budget, of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; to create a worldwide early warning system for natural disasters; to mobilize new resources for the fight against HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria; and to improve the UN's Central Emergency Revolving Fund, so that disaster relief arrives more promptly and reliably in future
Perhaps most precious to me is the clear acceptance by all UN members that there is a collective responsibility to protect civilian populations against genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, with a commitment to do so through the Security Council wherever local authorities are manifestly failing. I first advocated this in 1998, as the inescapable lesson of our failures in Bosnia and Rwanda. I am glad to see it generally accepted at last -- and hope it will be acted on when put to the test.
My proposal for a new UN Human Rights Council is also accepted, though without the details that I hoped would make this body a clear improvement on the existing Commission. These are left for the General Assembly to finalize during the coming year. Nations that believe strongly in human rights must work hard to ensure that the new body marks a real change
Kofi A. Annan, Geneva
The writer is Secretary-General of the United Nations.
link to full article
Annan elaborates UN summit's commitments to humanitarian cause
Xinhua General News Service
October 6, 2005
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Thursday elaborated here the commitments that world leaders made to the humanitarian cause at a UN summit in New York last month.
"Perhaps the biggest innovation was the agreement to establish a Peacekeeping Commission. This fills a gaping institutional hole, "Annan said while addressing the executive committee of the UN refugee agency UNHCR.
He noted that another important step taken by the summit was the clear acceptance by all UN members of the responsibility to protect civilians against genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.
The summit also marked a step forward on the issue of internally displaced persons. "The summit's recognition of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement should help to improve the protection provided to some of the world's most vulnerable people," he said.
As to the summit's decision to create a new, standing Human Rights Council and strengthen the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Annan said he would continue to urge member states to conclude negotiations and come to a decision on details before the next session of the Commission on Human Rights in March.
The development gains yielded at the summit -- more aid and debt relief, and support for quick-impact projects -- should also be seen as a contribution to conflict prevention and stability promotion in places where humanitarian agencies are active, he said.
Annan also mentioned the summit's attention to UN management. "The extensive blueprint of reforms includes steps to increase accountability and efficiency, improve protections for whistleblowers, and ensure all staff understand and adhere to a single code of ethics."
Referring to the issue of international migration, the UN chief said it was one of the big issues facing the world. He urged governments and international organizations to do a better job for realizing its many benefits while overcoming the difficulties.
Annan's address to the UNHCR is the beginning of his 10-day visit in Europe. Besides Switzerland, he will travel to Portugal and Spain.
link to full article
Statement of Mark Malloch Brown Chief of Staff to the Secretary-General United Nations Headline: United Nations Restructuring
Committee: House International Relations
Testimony-By: Mark Malloch Brown, Chief Of Staff
Federal Document Clearing House Congressional Testimony
September 28, 2005 Wednesday
That said, member states have left themselves a lot of work in the coming months to define the specific parameters of the new (Human Rights) Council. It is vital that nations which really care about human rights, including of course the US, be fully engaged in negotiations to see this through. Meanwhile, please don't overlook the very important progress the summit did make on other areas of human rights - notably the "responsibility to protect". For the first time the entire UN membership, at the highest level, has accepted clearly that it has a collective responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. I believe this is a historic decision, which can help us to respond more rapidly, and more effectively, to the Bosnias and Rwandas, and indeed the Darfurs, of the future.
Of course it's a decision in principle. An enormous political effort will still be needed to ensure that we act on this principle in specific situations. But no one can argue any longer that such horrific crimes are internal affairs, which concern only the people and government of the nation in which they happen. In that respect, at least, we have entered a new and better era. I should like to thank members of this Committee, particularly yourself, Mr. Chairman, and members such as Congressman Lantos and Congressman Smith, for the untiring support you have given to the principle of strengthening the UN's commitment to the protection of fundamental human rights. What this body says on human rights echoes across the world. And as a result of the summit, member countries also took the decision to double the capacity and budget of the UN's human rights machinery, which was previously only 2 per cent of the UN budget as a whole. I think if we all keep our eye on the ball and do not relax our vigilance, there is real hope that in the coming years the UN will remove the blemish that has disfigured its otherwise valuable work in this area, and at last come to be seen as the effective force for human rights around the world that its founders intended it to be.
In that context I should also mention another important decision of the summit - the creation of a Peacebuilding Commission. I believe this body will be of great value to the US, since it will make it easier for you to share with other countries and institutions the burden of supporting reconstruction and recovery, and preventing a relapse into violence, in places like Liberia, Haiti and Sudan where peace and stability are not only a crying human need but also an important security interest for America and the rest of the world. This Commission will be operational by the end of the year.
(link to full article unavailable)
Adviser to Annan touts recent U.N. accomplishments
September 27, 2005 Tuesday
By Susan Kovar, Brown Daily Herald; SOURCE: Brown U.
United Nations reform is actually in the making, despite what the news media might portray, Stephen Stedman, special adviser to the U.N. secretary-general, told a full audience Monday in MacMillan 115. The research director and principal drafter for the Secretary-General's High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Changes spoke on "Reforming the U.N.: Progress and Pitfalls."
The U.N. World Summit on Sept. 14-16 saw the largest gathering of the heads of state and national leaders ever, Stedman said. Held in New York City, the event was largely reported to be an unmitigated disaster. "I'm here to show you how it wasn't," Stedman said.
The summit reached an important agreement on nations' "responsibility to protect" the victims of human rights abuses, he said. Nations essentially agreed to accept the obligation of helping the civilians of nations whose governments are either unable or unwilling to protect them in cases of genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity. For Sudan and other nations in similar situations, these pronouncements are great, Stedman said, but the consequential actions of nations will be more important.
"It's our vision for the 21st century," Stedman said, "to establish this new kind of collective security -- to take the idea that a threat to one nation is a threat to all nations -- and update it from (the United Nations') creation in 1945 to now, to acknowledge the broader threats that exist today."
A blanket statement of responsibility for other nations' citizens "was, quite frankly, even up to three weeks ago, unbelieved to get into the document," Stedman said. "There were too many supporters of sovereignty"
link to full article
European Parliament Resolution on the Outcome of the United Nations World Summit of 14-16 September
Reform of the UN, Millenium Development Goals
29 September 2005
2. Commends the decision to create a Peace-Building Commission to help countries make the transition from war to peace, and recognises that peace-building requires an entirely different set of skills to peace-keeping; considers that there is a need for regional and global peace-building commissions to develop the necessary skills and capabilities, backed by a support office and a standing fund, thereby raising the UN's profile in crisis and post-conflict areas; calls on the 60th General Assembly swiftly to implement these provisions; greatly welcomes the inclusion of the concept of human security in the official UN framework;
3. Welcomes the recognition of the international community's responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, as well as the clear responsibility of each individual state to protect their own citizens from these crimes, including by means of the prevention of such crimes; further underlines the importance of the International Criminal Court as an essential body in the task of prosecuting the perpetrators of any such crimes;
13. Welcomes the Summit's commitment to reinforcing the role and doubling the resources of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, thus allowing for better monitoring and implementation of adopted resolutions;
14. Deplores, however, the vague wording in the terms of reference of the Human Rights Council and the absence of a precise time scale, mandate, working methods and composition thereof; calls on the 60th General Assembly to regard this issue as a priority;
15. Urges the General Assembly to establish clear criteria for the use of force by the Security Council, along the lines proposed by the above-mentioned High-Level Panel report;
16. Believes that members of the new Human Rights Council should abide by the highest human rights standards and that membership of the Council is a privilege not a right; believes that the Human Rights Council should be in permanent session, thus avoiding long delays and political manoeuvring by states against which complaints are made;
17. Deeply regrets the Summit's failure to reach agreement on measures for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, and insists that work and efforts to make progress on these issues must intensify considerably, first of all through ensuring full respect for the existing Treaties, especially the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons;
18. 18 Reaffirms its belief that the capacity of the UN to respond quickly and effectively to humanitarian disasters which require global leadership needs to be reconsidered and improved; nevertheless welcomes the commitment to establishing a world-wide early warning system for all natural hazards
link to full article
Post-Summit Reaction: The Good News
By Barbara Crossette
The Interdependent, UNA-USA
Granted, the abject failure of nations to agree on how, specifically, to form a new human rights council in place of the discredited Human Rights Commission was one glaring exception to the hope of putting people first. Developing nations themselves killed that hope, fearing too much scrutiny. That's not a good omen.
But member nations did accept to the surprise of many a new concept that has been under discussion around the organization since the turn of this millennium: the "responsibility to protect." That provision in the final agreement says unambiguously that when governments fail to take action against enormous crimes within their borders such as genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity including incitement to these crimes-the rest of the world must be prepared "to take collective action, in a timely and decisive manner."
Only five years ago, Secretary-General Kofi Annan drew a storm of protest from developing nations when he talked about the "right to intervene." He jokes now that "responsibility to protect" is more diplomatic. But the point that matters is that in one revolutionary step, the UN membership has tempered the long-held view that national sovereignty is inviolate when a population is abused
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UN Post-War Reconstruction Plan to Benefit Africa
Panafrican News Agency
September 30, 2005
African countries emerging from civil strife and war will be major beneficiaries of the proposed UN Peace-building Commission expected to be established by December, a senior UN official disclosed here Friday.
UN Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs, Ibrahim Gambari, said although Africa was the only continent locked out of the UN Security Council permanent membership, it stood to gain massively from the setting up of the peace-building fund.
"The UN reform was a good thing. The Peace-building Commission would be good for Africa, it means whenever there is conflict, countries would be able to rebuild after the conflict. More and more African countries would gain," Gambari said.
Speaking to a group of international journalists at the UN Complex here, Gambari, who is on an official visit to review progress in peace initiatives in Africa, said the commission would set up a global fund for post-war efforts.
"Although it is not entirely an African fund, it would be helpful, it (bestows) the responsibility to protect civilians from genocide and abuse of international law," he said
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UN Summit Participants Discuss Major Issues but Delay Reform
Voice of America News
September 29, 2005
Another important outcome from the U.N. summit was the decision by member states to intervene in cases of genocide or ethnic cleansing.
"Since the genocide in Rwanda and then the situation in Kosovo, there has been an increasing movement, partly sponsored by the Canadian government, to move towards what is called 'responsibility to protect,'" explained Stewart Patrick, a U.N. expert with the Center for Global Development. "And that is, basically, the recognition that sovereignty is not sacrosanct - if it ever was - and that implies obligations and responsibilities, as well as privileges. And one of those obligations is to make sure that the citizens of your country are not being abused and are not victims of atrocities - first of all, that you don't commit them yourself and that you don't permit them to be committed on your territory. When a state is unable to fulfill those basic responsibilities of statehood, in membership of the United Nations, that responsibility devolves to the international community. So there is a general recognition in the 'outcome statement' of the U.N. summit, that recognizes that the international community has a responsibility to act when countries are unable to prevent or are making war on their own people."
In the final statement of the summit, U.N. members vowed to review cases of genocide and act "on a case by case" basis
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September 24, 2005
MARIA Moscaritolo's discussion of the recent UN Summit (The Advertiser, (22/9/05) was both timely and accurate, although it did neglect some of the achievements.
The summit resulted in the creation of the Peace-building Commission that will assist fragile states in post-conflict situations, while the creation of the Human Rights Council and a doubling of the budget of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights will ensure the UN can deal more adequately with major human-rights abuses.
Most importantly, the summit recognised for the first time a universal responsibility to protect all humans from genocide and crimes against humanity. This is a historic moment that will long be remembered.
Yes, there were failures not defining terrorism, nothing relating to nuclear non-proliferation and no reform of the Security Council. But those who expect the UN to fix all of the world's problems expect too much.
The UN is the embodiment of the idea that all nations, big and small, rich and poor, deserve a say on issues of international concern. Such an idea will never lose its relevance.
* RAVI CHANDRA, President,
United Nations Youth Association of Australia.
* LUCY WELLS, President,
United Nations Youth Association of South Australia, Adelaide.
(link to full article unavailable)
Security Council Underscores Role Of Civil Society In Conflict Prevention
States News Service
September 21, 2005
The following information was released by United Nations:
Underlining the need for a broad strategy for conflict prevention and peaceful settlement of disputes, the United Nations Security Council has emphasized the potential contributions of a vibrant and diverse civil society and pledged to strengthen its relationship with its organizations.
"The Security Council noted that a vigorous and inclusive civil society could provide community leadership, help shape public opinion, and facilitate, as well as contribute to reconciliation between conflicting communities," the Council said in a statement following an all-day meeting on the role of civil society in conflict prevention.
"The Security Council also underscored the role that these actors could play in providing a bridge to dialogue and other confidence-building measures between parties in conflict," the 15-member body added in a presidential statement read out by Alberto G. Romulo, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, which holds the Council's rotating presidency for September.
While the essential responsibility for conflict prevention rests with national governments, the Council noted that the UN and the international community can play an important role in support of national efforts for conflict prevention and recognized the important supporting role of civil society.
"The Security Council reaffirmed the need for this strategy to be based on engagement with governments, regional and subregional organizations, as well as civil society organizations, as appropriate, reflecting the widest possible range of opinions," the statement said
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UN Report Urges Action to Enforce Legal Protections For Children Caught In War
New York, Oct 5 2005
A higher level of commitment and more effective collaboration between the United Nations and civil society will be needed to enforce the rights of war-affected children in a world where 2 million have been killed, 6 million injured and 250,000 brutally exploited over the past decade, the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict said in a new report:
link to Report
"We have as never before the legal instruments for protecting children in armed conflict, but the situation on the ground is getting worse," Tonderai Chikuhwa, Programme Officer of the Special Representative said today in discussing the report. "Now the challenge is to move from the formal commitments we have made to children to actually changing the situation on the ground," he told the UN News Service.
Abductions are becoming more systematic and widespread, and since 2003 over 14 million children have been forcibly displaced within and outside their home countries. The Special Representative's mandate now will be to ensure "an era of application of child protection standards and norms," against violators of the rights of children, Mr. Chikuhwa said
Going forward, the Special Representative is hoping to put greater muscle behind the laws, and counts four major elements towards that objective, one of the most important among them a Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict that will be coming out with its first set of recommendations this month. Along with a specific, high-level focus, the Working Group will be better able to respond to situations as they evolve on the ground, Mr. Chikuhwa said
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