#RtoPWeekly: 16-20 September

Weekly

This week in focus:
RtoP Included on the General Assembly Agenda Once More

On Monday, 16 September, UN Member States voted to adopt “the responsibility to protect and the prevention of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity” for 74rd session of the UN General Assembly. This included a supplementary item with a vote of 92 States in favor, 15 against, and 27 abstentions.

With this move forward, the UN General Assembly will once again hold a formal debate on the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP), ensuring States have the opportunity to further consider the norm and the work of the UN Special Advisers on Genocide Prevention and RtoP. As the formal debate on RtoP at the end of June showed, discussion the norm in a formal debate allows more time for interventions, increasing the opportunities for increased and more in-depth dialogue on the topic, and also provide an opportunity for formal, on-the-record statements and an exchange of ideas and knowledge on preventing atrocities.

Many states in June showed an appreciate for the concrete and practical examples for prevention-related actions and activities outlined in the Secretary-General’s Report, and welcomed the appointment of the work of the new Special Advisor, Ms. Karen Smith, and appreciated the work of the Office on the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect (the “Joint Office”). The third formal debate on the RtoP will only further allow Member States and the Joint Office to increase opportunities for the exchange of information to better mainstream the RtoP norm. As such, we welcome the continuation of discussion on RtoP as part of the UN General Assembly’s formal agenda once more.

***Due to the UN General Assembly Opening and High-Level Debate, the RtoP Weekly will be on pause and resume publication in October.***

Please take note that our website is currently under construction. If you need assistance in accessing ICRtoP materials, please contact us at info@responsibilitytoprotect.org

UNGA 74 vote


What to Watch:

Burma: 600,000 Rohingya in Myanmar face ‘serious risk of genocide’: UN (Al-Jazeera)
This week the UN Independent International Fact Finding Mission (FFM) on Myanmar released a report, finding that over 600,000 Rohingya in Myanmar continue to face “serious risk” of genocide. The continued risk is owing to a lack of accountability and called for the situation’s referral to the International Criminal Court, or the creation of a special mechanism, to prosecute Burmese army generals for the arson, rape, and killings, against the Rohingya. In addition to calling for an end to impunity for the atrocities committed, the FFM also notes that Aung San Suu Kyi could also face charges for crimes against humanity owing to her role in the continued ongoing rights violations in the country, failing to address her responsibilities as head of state.


But Also Don’t Miss:

Central African Republic: UN Eases Arms Embargo
Following the peace deal in the Central African Republic, the UN Security Council eased the arms embargo to allow for the proper training of state security forces to protect its populations.

Côte d’Ivoire: ICC Prosecutors appeal acquittal former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo
ICC Prosecutors, citing legal and procedural errors, appealed Former President Laurent Gbagbo’s acquittal.

Liberia: Liberia President Seeks Legislature’s Advice for War Crimes Court
President George Weah asked the National Legislature to advise him in establishing a war crimes court, as recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Sub-Saharan Africa: Africa must help end the atrocities in Yemen, and start by ending its involvement
This piece looks at East African nations’ role in the Yemeni Civil War, advocating an obligation to cease operational assistance to help end the conflict and stabilize the security in the region.

Yemen: Yemen: Collective failure, collective responsibility – UN Report 
A new UN Report details possible war crimes in Yemen where attacks on civilian infrastructure, use of blockades, and a lack of accountability have exacerbated the situation.


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#RtoPWeekly 9-13 September

Weekly

This week in focus:
Member States to Determine UN General Assembly Agenda for the 74th Session

On Monday, 16 September, Member States will convene and decide whether or not  several agenda items of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly will carry over to the draft agenda of the 74th session, including the Debate on the RtoP. Formally titled, “the responsibility to protect and the prevention of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity,” the ICRtoP is hopeful for an uncontested rollover, however, states may call for a vote in order to prevent its inclusion.

During the Formal Debate in June, states showed a willingness to continue the dialogue on the RtoP, particularly given the Secretary-General’s report contextualizing lessons learned and offering concrete activities and decisions that could be taken at the national level to mitigate the risks of and prevent atrocity crimes. We’ve summarized the debate in our infographic.

***Please take note that our website is currently under construction. If you need assistance in accessing ICRtoP materials, please contact us at info@responsibilitytoprotect.org***


What to Watch:

Burundi: Tanzania: Maintain Protection Space for Burundian Refugees (Amnesty)
Following the Commission of Inquiry (COI) report on Burundi’s report last week, several CSOs urged actors at all levels to take the human rights situation into consideration in decision-making processes. Several CSOs called on the Human Rights Council to extend the COI’s mandate ahead of the 2020 elections, and Amnesty International urged the governments of Tanzania and Burundi to ensure that all refugee repatriations were safe and voluntary, owing to their own work on the continued violence and rights repression.

South Sudan: South Sudan parties agree to form interim govt by Nov 12 (Reuters)
Exiled opposition leader, Dr. Riek Machar, returned to South Sudan this week to participate in peace discussions with President Salva Kiir. As the next step in most recent peace agreement, the leaders met and announced that a transitional government would be formed by mid-November.


But Also Don’t Miss:

Bangladesh: Clampdown on Rohingya Refugees
Rights organizations are calling on Bangladesh to restore cell service to refugee camps, investigate the deaths of several civilians and Rohingya politician, as well as end restrictions on their freedom of movement.

Burkina Faso: Burkina Faso threatened with famine caused by terrorism
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports over half a million have been displaced, lack healthcare, and are food insecure due to increased terrorist threats.

Nicaragua: Nicaragua ‘crisis’ still cause for concern amid murder, torture allegations
High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet reminded the Human Rights Council that rights repression remains a concern, urging all parties to engage in peaceful dialogue to resolve the crisis.


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#RtoPWeekly 3-6 September

Weekly

This week in focus:

Member States Revisit Commitments to Atrocity Prevention
in the Second UNGA debate on RtoP
 

Hello and welcome back to the RtoP Weekly! A lot happened while we were on break, but we’re looking forward to diving back in and resuming our publication.

On 27 June, the UN General Assembly held its second formal debate on the Responsibility to Protect since 2009. Common themes of the debate included the importance of the Human Rights Council and Treaty Bodies in upholding the RtoP, the importance of accountability mechanisms such as the ICC, IIIM for Syria, among others, and support for UN Plan of Action on Combating Hate Speech. The ICRtoP produced an infographic of the debate, which can be found here.

Ahead of the Formal Debate on the RtoP, the ICRtoP hosted a CSO Roundtable with the UN Special Advisor on the Responsibility to Protect, Ms Karen Smith. This off-the-record event helped to facilitate the channels of communication between civil society and the UN Officeon the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect on the UN Secretary-General’s Annual Report on the RtoP. This year’s Report focused on “Lessons Learned for Prevention,” and looks at state-based approaches to prevention and early action. In this vein, the Report calls upon member states to see actions such as countering hate speech, including women in peace dialogues, and implementing methods of self-review and monitoring as activities that can prevent the future occurrence of atrocities. An ICRtoP summary as well as an infographic on the report are available.

***Please take note that our website is currently under construction. If you need assistance in accessing ICRtoP materials, please contact us at info@responsibilitytoprotect.org***


What to Watch:

Burundi: CoI Presentation Report (OHCHR)

The UN Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry (CoI) on Burundi released its 2019 report, in which they detail that the presented calm within the country is due to underlying state repression of rights, as seen through the government’s removal of foreign NGOs earlier this year. The Commission used the Framework of Analysis for Atrocity Crimes as part of its research methods, and in its press conference stated, “There is no better early warning than our risk analysis which should be carefully considered, if the often repeated commitments to prevention are to have any meaning.” Ahead of the 2020 elections the CoI’s findings continue to keep Burundi as a state at-risk for atrocities.


But Also Don’t Miss:

Cameroon: Separatist Leaders Appeal Conviction
Separatist leaders filed an appeal against the life sentences handed down to them via Military Tribunal last month, which raised serious concerns over rights violations and due process in the country.

Peacekeeping: Analyzing the Co-Evolution of the Responsibility to Protect and the Protection of Civilians in UN Peace Operations
The RtoP and Peacekeeping are closely linked and complementary – this article explores that normative relationship in practice.

Syria: At Least 98,000 Forcibly Disappeared Persons in Syria Since March 2011
Coalition member, Syrian Network for Human Rights, released several important reports this summer on arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances in Syria.

Syria: Syrians Deported by Lebanon Arrested at Home
Lebanon is forcibly returning Syrians and handing them over to state authorities, where several have been detained arbitrarily.

Venezuela: Joint NGO Q&A: Why a United Nations Inquiry Is Needed for Venezuela
11 National and international NGOs called on the UN Human Rights Council to form a Commission of Inquiry on Venezuela.


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The Role of Women and Girls: RtoP and the Development-Humanitarian-Security Nexus

The Role of Women and Girls:
RtoP and the Development-Humanitarian-Security Nexus

Shayna Halliwell

Emerging and protracted crises are causing unprecedented movements of people from their homes and into insecure situations, where they typically experience a lack of access to basic services including education, health, housing and economic opportunities. Development practitioners are now witnessing large-scale funding mechanisms shift their focus to the development-humanitarian-security nexus, with an increased focus on the women and girls who disproportionately experience the effects of forced migration and protracted crises.[1] While the Responsibility to Protect has largely remained a set of principles, not yet enshrined in national or international legal frameworks, many governments are using their international assistance funding to push for development programming that addresses the root causes of conflict to prevent its occurrence. This shift towards the development-humanitarian-security nexus contributes to the normative framework around the Responsibility to Protect by using development funding mechanisms to encourage and assist States in their efforts to prevent and respond to mass atrocities of all kinds; to build their capacities to protect their populations from the effects of this violence; and to assist those already experiencing conflict.

While the RtoP has been affirmed in several Security Council resolutions, and many governments acknowledge the importance of the norm as indicated through its inclusion in the 2005 General Assembly World Summit Outcome Document,[2] the domestication of the RtoP continues to face challenges. While the RtoP is not evoked explicitly by states in their foreign policies, funding frameworks for international assistance have begun to move towards an understanding that development and humanitarian efforts are inextricably linked to international security concerns. International assistance policies that prioritize the intersection between development, humanitarianism, and security serve the function of putting the RtoP’s principles into action, even if they are not implemented in the ways originally anticipated or imagined.

The G7 Charlevoix Declaration (2018) is an example of this shift, as this communique prioritizes educational opportunities for women and girls, particularly in emergency situations or in fragile states, through the signatories’ development assistance systems. This focus on education is explicitly linked to increasing security in these environments, and the G7 pledged to “ensure commitment to gender equality and prioritize improved access to quality education for girls and women in the early stages of humanitarian response and peacebuilding efforts.”[3] This communique was supported by a funding announcement by Canada, the UK, Germany, the European Union, and Japan, alongside the World Bank, to put $3.8 billion entirely towards girls’ education in conflict and crisis situations.[4] Canada, for example, allocated its $400 million contribution to this fund to its Feminist International Assistance Policy.  This policy is based on the recognition by the Canadian government that “supporting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is the best way to build a more peaceful, more inclusive and more prosperous world.”[5] As a Project Manager for a large international non-profit that regularly works with the Canadian government, I see firsthand how the ethos behind the Feminist International Assistance Policy now dictates how the Government of Canada decides which projects or interventions to fund. One of the six action areas of the Feminist International Assistance Policy is women’s involvement in peace and security efforts, because “when women are involved in peace and security efforts, solutions are more comprehensive […] This increases community buy-in and offers a better opportunity to address the root causes of conflict.”[6] In the current global context, it is becoming clear that preventing and addressing security issues, particularly atrocities, is absolutely necessary for development projects to be sustainable in any way. The G7 Charlevoix Declaration is a strong indication of this recognition, particularly as it supports women and girls at the nexus of development, humanitarian, and peace and security agendas.

The rates of conflict and displacement of vulnerable groups of people continue to rise,[7] increasing the importance of operationalizing the RtoP. As debates on the RtoP continue, states are putting these principles into action through the ways in which they allocate their funding for development and humanitarian projects. Women and girls are the anchors of these policies that support the implementation of the Responsibility to Protect, because when women and girls are supported and empowered to participate in their communities, they have shown to contribute meaningfully to both conflict prevention and resolution.[8] Large-scale donor investment in women and girls at this development-humanitarian-security nexus simply makes sense for increased and continued peace and security efforts.

 

Shayna Halliwell is currently Senior Manager for Global Partnerships at Right to Play, a Toronto-based NGO working on child protection, education, and empowerment, where she manages international development projects across sub-Saharan Africa. In addition to her work in development, peace and security, she is interested and writes on indigenous and ethnic minority rights. Ms. Halliwell received her Master’s from Columbia University in New York.

Sources
[1] Luck & Bellamy article on ICRtoP blog.
[2] Paragraphs 138-139, http://responsibilitytoprotect.org/world%20summit%20outcome%20doc%202005(1).pdf.[3] https://g7.gc.ca/en/official-documents/charlevoix-declaration-quality-education-girls-adolescent-girls-women-developing-countries/
[4] https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-education-girls-g7-1.4699620
[5] https://international.gc.ca/world-monde/issues_development-enjeux_developpement/priorities-priorites/policy-politique.aspx?lang=eng#3
[6] https://international.gc.ca/world-monde/issues_development-enjeux_developpement/priorities-priorites/policy-politique.aspx?lang=eng#5.6
[7] https://www.unhcr.org/news/stories/2018/6/5b222c494/forced-displacement-record-685-million.html
[8] http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/peace-and-security/conflict-prevention-and-resolution

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#RtoPWeekly: 13-17 May

This week in focus:
Gender & Genocide and the Protection of Civilians

Working with the Global Justice Center, the ICRtoP will convene a panel discussion next Wednesday, 22 May, entitled “Gender and Genocide: Engendering analysis for better prevention, accountability, and protection,” as a side event to the UN Security Council Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Conflict.

The event looks to expand upon the Global Justice Center’s white paper, Beyond Killing: Gender, Genocide, and Obligations under International Law, released in December 2018, focusing on the unique ways women experience and are affected by genocidal violence. By bringing together experts from civil society, academia, and law, the discussion aims to raise awareness around the need for the inclusion of a gendered analysis to illuminate the multi-dimensional nature of atrocity crimes to prevent their occurrence, as a lack of gender-specificity in legal frameworks prevents the international community from effectively preventing and punishing atrocity crimes.

Full information on the event can be found here.

***Please note that we will be pausing RtoP Weekly publication for the time being. Thank you for your patience and understanding. We hope to be back in your inboxes soon!***


What to Watch:

Sudan: Sudan Talks Collapse Amid Clashes in Khartoum (New York Times)
Talks and negotiations over a transitional government in Sudan stalled on 16 May, in spite of earlier reports that both parties had agreed to a three-year transitional period. The situation deteriorated amidst the negotiations as state forced fired against protestors in an attempt to clear checkpoints in the city. Dialogues between military and civilian leaders in the days preceding seemed to be progressing, albeit slowly, over several rounds of negotiations and ongoing violence between security forces and protesters. Notably, prosecutors officially charged former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for “inciting and participating in” the killing of protesters in the mass demonstrations that led to the end of his regime last month.


But Also Don’t Miss:

Burma: UN Fact-Finding Mission Recommends Suspension of International Dealings with Myanmar’s Military
The head of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar urges the international community to end its support of the military following a tour of the country, citing a lack of accountability for actions against the Rohingya.

Cameroon: Hope for western Cameroon as Biya finally talks peace
After several high-profile events, President Biya is reportedly organizing a dialogue to address the conflict in the Anglophone regions.

Health Care in Conflict: Impunity Remains: 2018 Attacks on Health Care in 23 Countries in Conflict
The report notes increasing attacks on humanitarian workers and services in addition to providing recommendations for the UN, states, and other parties to a conflict.

Syria: Inside Syria’s Secret Torture Prisons: How Bashar al-Assad Crushed Dissent
The New York Times published an expose on detainment conditions under the Assad regime including details on torture and enforced disappearances.

Venezuela: Hunger for Justice: Crimes Against Humanity in Venezuela
Amnesty International’s new report on rights abuses under Nicolas Maduro’s regime documents systematic and widespread violations that may amount to crimes against humanity.

Venezuela: Venezuela peace talks taking place in Oslo: Norwegian media
Peace talks are reportedly taking place in Oslo, Norway between representatives of both Nicolas Maduro and Juan Guaido.

Yemen: Houthi withdrawal from Yemen ports going according to plan: UN
UN officials report the withdrawal of Houthi forces from Hodeidah is “going to plan.”



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#RtoPWeekly: 6-10 May

Weekly

This week in focus:
Illustrating the Plan of Action for Religious Leaders

Acknowledging the special role leaders of faith can play in preventing atrocities, the UN Office of the Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect published the “Plan of Action for Religious Leaders and Actors to Prevent the Incitement to Violence That Could Lead to Atrocity Crimes.” The 2017 report is the result of a series of consultations with leaders of faith from around the world, and provides recommendations to prevent violence, strengthen relationships between actors their communities, and build more peaceful and inclusive societies. Our infographic summary of the Plan of Action can be found through following the link!

What to Watch:

Cameroon: Routine Torture, Incommunicado Detention UN Security Council Should Condemn Abuses, Demand Reforms (Human Rights Watch)
Coalition Member Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported this week on its latest research in Cameroon, exposing torture and incommunicado detention by state authorities. HRW documented 26 cases of incommunicado detention and enforced disappearance and 14 cases of torture to coerce information or confessions from detainees. In light of these findings, the organization called for the UN Security Council (UNSC) to place the country on its agenda. This week, the United States, United Kingdom, Dominican Republic, and Germany announced an Arria-Formula meeting of the UNSC on the Crisis in Cameroon for next week.

Sudan: Protest Leader: Sudan Mediators Propose 2 Transition Councils (Voice of America)
This week the Sudanese military rejected a civilian majority rule in the transitional government, leading to continued protests in Khartoum. Mediators in the situation acknowledged a proposal from the Transitional Military Council (TMC) for a dual-council format, one civilian, one military, as the basis of structure in the transitional government. Military officials also announced their desire to have the new government’s law to be guided by Sharia principles, a proposal the Sudanese Professional Authority (SPA), a leading opposition group, had yet to respond to at the time of writing. In spite of peaceful protests in Khartoum, forces in Darfur continue to commit abuses, where violence remains high from both sides.

But Also Don’t Miss:

Benin: Shots fired as post-election violence grips Benin
Soldiers fired at protesters demonstrating against parliamentary election ballots that did not include opposition candidates, reportedly killing three.

Cote d’Ivoire: UN Review Should Press Government on Justice
The UN Human Rights Council begins its Universal Periodic Review of the country, which activists hope will result in the body pressuring the country to exclude perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity from amnesty.

The Gambia: UNDP Prioritises Supporting Gambia’s Stability
The United Nations Development Program announced it will continue to support stability in the country through its work addressing root causes such as poverty, strengthening institutions, and combating climate change.

Libya: Statement of ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, in relation to the escalation of violence in and around Tripoli, Libya
ICC Chief Prosecutor Bensouda briefed the UNSC on the situation in Libya this week. Her previous statement on the crisis can be found through the link above.

Middle East:  Persecution of Christians ‘coming close to genocide’ in Middle East – report
UK Foreign Secretary released a report alleging that the persecution of Christians in the Middle East may possibly amount to genocide.

South Sudan: South Sudan rivals agree to delay forming government
President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar agreed to extending the deadline to form a unity government by six months.

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#RtoP Weekly: 29 April -3 May

This week in focus:
Truth and Reconciliation in West Africa

To conclude Genocide Awareness month, the ICRtoP looks at how states address the atrocities and rights violations occurred. Using Truth and Reconciliation Commissions (TRCs), our new infographic highlights the transitional and restorative justice mechanisms in West Africa to investigate the violations committed during internal unrest, civil wars, and/or dictatorships. Seven West African countries set up TRCs, with the intent of ending impunity for perpetrators and recognizing the status of victims for the crimes committed. The ultimate goal is to heal the relationships between parties in order to avoid continued social and political grievances. Seeking the truth about the atrocities committed against populations has become an important part in rebuilding a society at the end of a regime or armed conflict. In that respect, TRCs are seen as taking part in the prevention of the re-occurrence of atrocities and conflict.
To learn more about this topic, the ICRtoP Infographic can be found here.
(image via Alliance for Peacebuilding)

e72bb306-5ff1-4d9a-8466-57774d108afa


What to Watch:

 

Israel/Palestine: ‘Continuing absence’ of political solution to Israel-Palestine conflict ‘undermines and compounds’ UN efforts to end wholesale crisis  (UN News)

Israel will demolish more Palestinian homes after its High Court ordered the destruction of 60 residences in occupied East Jerusalem. Many feel that Israel’s policy has been increasingly aggressive in handing down demolition orders. The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacekeeping Affairs, Rosemary DiCarlo, said that without any change in approach there would only be more deterioration and radicalization on both sides, and noted the hope for a two-state solution in the Israel-Palestine conflict continues to fade as the threats of annexation rise.


Libya:  Libyan government forces reinforce positions in Tripoli  (Al-Jazeera)

Civilian death toll and military clashes between the Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Libyan National Army (LNA) continue to escalate in Libya. Forces loyal to the UN-recognized government are reinforcing and holding their positions in Tripoli, indicating a continuation of the conflict. Due to the proximity of detention centers located near the fighting, Human Rights Watch called on the European Union to urge Libyan parties to ensure the release and relocation to safety of all migrants. Additionally, videos and images shared on Facebook and YouTube show the desecration of the bodies of fighters and civilians that could possibly amount to war crimes by LNA fighters.


Sudan: African Union gives Sudan military further 60 days to cede power (Al-Jazeera)

Protests continued outside of Sudanese military headquarters, as the African Union (AU) deadline to transition to a civilian lead government approaches. In addition to calling for a civilian-lead transitional government, protesters alleged state forces were attempting to break up the protests. On Thursday, the AU announced an extension to the military, allowing for 60 additional days to complete a transition to a civilian government, saying “”its conviction that a military-led transition in the Sudan will be totally unacceptable and contrary to the will and legitimate aspirations, to democratic institutions and processes, as well as respect for human rights and freedoms of the Sudanese people.” A consensus on the role of the military, which is laden with Bashir’s appointees and allies, poses a challenge in establishing a transitional government, with a many demanding their removal from power.


Venezuela: Juan Guaido declares ‘final phase’ of operation to topple Venezuela’s Maduro (CNN)
This week, Juan Guaidó claimed he had the support of the armed forces and called for nationwide protests as the final phase of “operation freedom.” Between 30 April and 1 May, security forces loyal to Nicolas Maduro used rubber bullets, tear gas, and live ammunition to crack down on protesters demanding his resignation. At the time of writing, protestors failed to unseat Maduro, and Guaidó’s movement has come into question. Maduro declared a “weekend of dialogue” to allow critique of the government and seek solutions, but experts note previous similar discussions without any substantial change.


But Also Don’t Miss:

Cameroon: Human Rights Watch Denied Entry – Government Blocks Scrutiny as Abuses Grow
The country denied access to a Human Rights Watch researcher, which the organization calls an attempt to curb reports on state security forces.

Iraq:  Yezidi spiritual council revokes statement, will not accept children of ISIS rape victims
The Yazidi Supreme Spiritual Council said it will allow all survivors of ISIS attacks to return to their communities in Iraq, but still will not recognize children born from rape by ISIS members.

Latin America: Global Network of R2P Focal Points
The Organization of American States joined the Global Network of R2P Focal Points, as its second regional organization.

South Sudan: Critics Slam Multimillion-dollar Deal Between South Sudan, US-based Lobbying Firm
The government of South Sudan hired US-based lobbying firm, Gainful Solutions, to prevent the establishment of a hybrid court mechanism to try individuals for war crimes.


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#RtoP Weekly: 15 – 17 April

Weekly

This week in focus:
Genocide Today: The Yazidis (2014- present)

Continuing to recognize Genocide Awareness Month, the ICRtoP turns its attention to ongoing atrocities, taking a look at the genocide of the Yazidi people at the hands of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The crimes committed against the Yazidi people is one portion of continuing and complex crisis in Iraq and Syria, and this infographic not only chronicles these events, but also highlights the ongoing plight of the Yazidis and the resulting accountability efforts.

The ICRtoP infographic can be found here.

***Please note that there will be no RtoP Weekly next week as our offices will be closed over the Easter Holiday. We will resume publication in May.***

(image via EuroNews)

Weekly Yazidi.jpg


What to Watch:

Burma: Myanmar’s 2020 Elections and Conflict Dynamics (United States Institute of Peace)
Elections for many of Burma’s legislative bodies are scheduled for late 2020, coinciding with the 21st Century Panglong peace process, and the potential repatriation of Rohingya refugees. The United States Institute for Peace (USIP) outlines the possibility for violence caused by the convergence of these events including divisive campaigning, populist rhetoric, and misinformation that will increase tensions and undermine support for the peace process. The USIP report also outlines opportunities for the international community and Burmese government to take in order mitigate the risk of conflict leading up to elections.

International Criminal Court (ICC): Afghanistan: ICC refuses to authorize investigation, caving into USA threats  (Amnesty International)
The ICC announced it will not investigate crimes committed by US forces in Afghanistan. Many see the decision as an abandonment of victims’ rights, and note that crimes have been committed in the country with impunity. Amnesty further argues the Court has a moral and legal duty to reach out to the victims of crimes in the country and explain its decision.

Libya: Arab Pacifists Demand an End to Violence in Libya (Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict – GPPAC)
In a statement issued this past weekend, the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC), expressed its concerns over the recent confrontations in the country, calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities and an end to the use of child soldiers in the conflict. GPPAC also called on the UN and the Security Council to do all they can to prevent conflict through nonviolent means, and promote a national dialogue for peace and democracy.  At the same time, the Arab League Envoy on Libya criticized foreign nations’ involvement in the dispute, saying they are fueling the conflict and escalating violence. They called on warring parties in Libya to cease hostilities and return to the negotiating table.

Sudan: AU warns Sudan military, protesters make demands (Africa News)
The Sudanese military continues to remain in power after it removed al-Bashir from office last week. Though the military stated its intention to create a civilian government, protests outside its headquarters continue. The African Union (AU) issued a statement giving state forces 15 days to transfer power to a civilian government, or face suspension in the regional organization. Many hope the involvement of the AU and its warnings lead to a peaceful transfer of power.


But Also Don’t Miss:

International Criminal Court: All roads to global justice lead to the Rome Statute 
In an Op-Ed, Eric Paulson argues that the International Criminal Court was set up to end impunity for mass atrocity crimes, punish perpetrators, and prevent future occurrences, and that misconceptions over the ICC’s mandate threatens justice worldwide.

Israel/Palestine: Palestinian state likely not in US proposed peace plan: Report
The United States-proposed peace plan for Israel and Palestine reportedly contains practical improvements for the lives of Palestinians, but likely excludes the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state.

Qatar: Doha conference seeks to address impunity for war crimes
Qatar is hosting an international conference in Doha, seeking to address impunity and find solutions in order to hold individuals and states accountable for war crimes and human rights violations.

Venezuela: First Red Cross aid delivery lands in crisis-torn Venezuela
The first International Committee of the Red Cross aid shipment arrived in Venezuela, marking a “tacit recognition” from Nicolas Maduro that a humanitarian crisis exists in the country.

Yemen: Plan for troop pullback ‘now accepted’ by rival forces around key Yemen port, but fighting intensifying elsewhere, Security Council warned
The United Nations Special Envoy to Yemen said pro-government forces and Houthi rebels agreed to withdraw troops from the front lines in and around Hodeidah, though fighting is intensifying elsewhere in the country.


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#RtoP Weekly: 8 – 12 April

Weekly

This week in focus:
Kwibuka 25 : Remembering the Rwandan Genocide

7 April marked the 25th Anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide. Over a 100-day period, nearly 800,000 Rwandans died in the genocide, making it the quickest of the 20th century. In spite of warning signs of burgeoning conflict, the international community failed to take timely and decisive action to prevent these atrocities. Each year, Rwandans commemorate the events, known as “Kwibuka.” The Kinyarwanda word means, “to remember,” taking on a significant meaning in light of the major anniversary this year. Kwibuka 25 adopted a theme of “to remember, unite, renew,” which perhaps encapsulates the complexities of post-conflict societies in one of the simplest ways. By learning from their past and working through truth and reconciliation measures, the Rwandan people continue towards building an inclusive society and preventing the recurrence of these tragic events.
The ICRtoP statement on the 25th Anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide can be found here.

(image via the BBC)

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What to Watch:

China: The Persecution of the Uighurs and Potential Crimes Against Humanity in China (Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect)

Coalition Steering Group member, Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect and Coalition member the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect released a joint report detailing China’s treatment of its Turkic Muslim population, and its response to growing international pressure. The government continues to employ a policy of arbitrary detention, religious restrictions, and extensive surveillance against the Uighurs, justifying the decision as one to counter extremism. The treatment of ethnic Uighurs and other Turkic Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang province resulted in systemic human rights abuses. The report finds government actions may amount to crimes against humanity, and recommends solutions to end rights violations.


Israel: Israel Election Live Updates: As Gantz Concedes, Netanyahu Set for Victory  (New York Times)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won fourth consecutive term in this week’s election. Four right-wing and religious parties publicly pledged to support him in his bid to form the next governing coalition, raising concerns over a previous declaration, where he promised to annex Israeli occupied territories in West Bank. Many view his victory as a closing door for a peaceful settlement in the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the creation of a Palestinian state. Palestinian leaders said the election results endorsed an indefinite occupation of the West Bank, human rights abuses, and the growing encroachment on Palestinian lands
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Libya:
Libya: Attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure may amount to war crimes, Bachelet warns (ReliefWeb)

Last week, leader of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Khalifa Haftar, launched an assault on Tripoli, causing an escalation in tensions and violence with the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA). Coalition member Human Rights Watch said the recent threats of confrontation raise atrocity concerns, noting the militias have history of abuses against civilians. United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, stated the attacks taking place against civilians and civilian infrastructures may amount to war crimes, urging all parties to the conflict to make every effort to protect civilian lives. Due to the renewed violence, the United Nations decided to postpone upcoming reconciliation dialogues that were expected to lead to democratic elections, saying the current situation make it impossible to hold productive talks.

Sudan:
Omar Hassan al-Bashir Is Removed as Sudan’s President (New York Times)

Protests outside of the military’s headquarters in Khartoum, Sudan, began last weekend, with the Sudanese people demanding the resignation of President al-Bashir. Over the course of several days, the protests grew, along with concern from the international community over the use of force against civilians by the military and lack of a credible transition plan. Countries like Norway, the UK, and the US urged action to prevent further instability. On Thursday, military actors arrested al-Bashir, removing him from power. In addition to placing al-Bashir under house arrest, military leaders dissolved the government and suspending the constitution, and enacted a three-month state of emergency. It was also announced that there would be a two-year transition period lead by the military, causing concerns about the future respect for human rights, protection of civilians, and rule of law in the country. Additionally, it remains unclear whether al-Bashir will be handed over to the International Criminal Court, where he faces charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide for the conflict in Darfur.

 

But Also Don’t Miss:

Burma: UN ‘disturbed’ over attacks against civilians in Rakhine
The UN Human Rights Office condemned Burmese state forces for attacking civilians, calling on both the military and Arakan Army to end hostilities and protect civilians.

Cameroon: Government Forces Attack Village
Government forces attacked a village in the Anglophone region, with Human Rights Watch warning that similar events could occur if forces are not held accountable.

Nigeria: Video Exposes Beatings by Nigerian Security Forces
Human Rights Watch called for an end to impunity and the investigation of Nigerian authorities for torture and other abuses after a video of security forces whipping a group of 15 men surfaced.

Mali: UN Urges International Community to Invest in Mali’s Humanitarian Needs
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs warns that the security situation will continue to deteriorate without sustained and significant humanitarian aid.

Syria: Syrian Network for Human Rights: 221 chemical attacks in Syria since 2012
A reported 221 chemical attacks took place in Syria since December 2012, killing at least 1,461 civilians, a majority of which, the Syrian Network for Human Rights attributes to the Assad regime.

Venezuela: Maduro says Venezuela ready to receive international aid
After meeting with the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Nicolas Maduro announced Venezuela is ready to receive humanitarian aid.

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#RtoP Weekly: 01 – 05 April

Weekly

This week in focus:
Recognizing Genocide Awareness Month

Recognizing Genocide Awareness Month, the ICRtoP team will mark the occasion with a series of infographics. With the first week of Genocide Awareness Month, we are taking a look at the first modern genocide of the 20th century: the Armenian Genocide.

The Armenians are an ethnic group traditionally residing in the area between the Southern Caucuses into Eastern Anatolia, Turkey. Prior to World War I (WWI), Armenians were a sizeable ethnic and religious minority living within the Ottoman Empire. Practicing a branch of Orthodox Christianity, the Armenian’s beliefs set them apart from the Empire’s predominantly Turkic Muslim ruling class. Despite these differences, the Armenians lived relatively peacefully within the Empire for much of its existence.

In 1908, the Young Turks Revolution established a constitutional government in the Ottoman Empire. Though the Young Turks’ politics were progressive, the party held European ethnic nationalist views. Upon the outbreak of WWI the state feared that Armenians would side with Russia, sharing similar religious views. From 1915 to 1918, the Ottoman government employed a systematic wave of deportations and executions. In 1915, the state disarmed and eventually executed Armenian troops serving in the Empire, arrested and jailed the Armenian intelligentsia of Istanbul who were transferred to labor battalions, and deported Armenian communities to concentration camps in Ottoman Syria.

By the end of WWI, the Armenian population of the Empire went from 2 million, to an estimated 400,000. While exact numbers are difficult to determine, experts estimate between 600,000 and 1.5 million Armenians lost their lives. Today, the genocide is official remembered on 24 April, the anniversary of the arrest of the Armenian intelligentsia, which is considered the official beginning of the atrocities.

Please click here for the infographic.

(Image via the ICC)

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What to Watch:

Mali: Mali warns any cuts in UN force will strengthen militants (The Washington Post)
The future of MINUSMA, the UN Peacekeeping mission in Mali, has come into question ahead of its June renewal date. The US looks for a reduction in the mission, in spite of the Security Council approving a request by France to discuss its revamping. Mali’s Prime Minister urged the UNSC to maintain the MINUSMA peacekeeping mission at its current strength, saying any reduction in force may endanger the already fragile peace process. The government’s work to implement the Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration process has yet to improve the nation’s stability, adding that recent militia violence may significantly undermine the gains made with the assistance of MINUSMA.

Sudan: Bashir, opposition opt for negotiations (The East African)
Sudanese President al-Bashir and opposition forces agreed to negotiate a deal for a transitional government, thought it comes with its pros and cons. In agreeing to create a transitional government, President Bashir conceded his plans to change the constitution and run for a third term. However, the elections, slated for 2020, are now in doubt, based on the terms of the agreement or the processes’ failure. Experts are concerned about rivaling factions reaching a consensus given the wide range of views the parties and the army hold.


But Also Don’t Miss:

Burma: Mr. Nicholas Koumjian of the United States of America – Head of the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has named Nicholas Koumjian as head of the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar. The mechanism will collect evidence of abuses and atrocities committed against the Rohingya.

Cameroon: Half a million civilians displaced in Cameroon skirmishes
Humanitarian and UN agencies report roughly half a million civilians from the Anglophone region are internally displaced, or seeking refuge in Nigeria.

Libya: African Union to host Libya ‘reconciliation’ conference
The African Union aims to unite Libyan political rivals through reconciliation and discussing the country’s future, which are critical in creating a lasting accord and stability in the country.

Nigeria: Nigeria Struggles with Security Sector Reform
Corruption and political misuse of Nigeria’s security sector contributes to a lack of trust and accountability in the country.

Philippines: Philippine Supreme Court Orders Release of Evidence from Duterte’s Drug War
The Philippine Supreme Court has ordered police to release documents related to killings in President Durterte’s war on drugs, which human rights groups hope will help end impunity.

Venezuela: UN Should Lead Full-Scale Emergency Response
A joint John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Human Rights Watch report on the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela concluded that the UN should lead a full humanitarian emergency response to deliver life-saving aid.

Yemen: Exclusive: Yemeni child soldiers recruited by Saudi-UAE coalition
Al-Jazeera obtained exclusive footage proving the use of child soldiers in recruitment camps of the Saudi-United Arab Emirate led coalition in Yemen.


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