ICRtoP Delivers Remarks at UNGA Dialogue on RtoP

A prominent voice at this year’s UNGA informal interactive dialogue on RtoP, which focused on the role of regional and subregional organizations in implementing the RtoP, was that of civil society.On behalf of ICRtoP, Nana Afadzinu, the Executive Director of the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI), made a statement in front of the UN officials and delegations present at the dialogue.

Here are some highlights from her speech, which emphasized the need for a greater role for regional and sub-regional organizations in the implementation of RtoP:

On the unique position of regional and subregional-organizations:
“Regional and sub-regional organizations have a unique understanding of internal developments in countries facing potential or current atrocities and are often the first to become aware of crimes being committed.  Existing regional and sub-regional early warning mechanisms, such as the African Union’s Continental Early Warning System, the Economic Community of West African States’ Conflict Prevention Framework and Conflict Early Warning Mechanism, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Conflict Prevention Center are able to play a direct and crucial role in facilitating early action in RtoP crisis situations.”   

WACSI Executive Director, Nana Afadzinu, delivering her remarks at the 12 July UNGA Dialogue on RtoP.

On their efforts to respond or catalyze action in country-specific situations:

“ECOWAS and the AU have stood out in their efforts to  mediate national crises as seen in Kenya in 2007 when an AU mediation team composed of eminent Africans and led by former SG Kofi Annan was dispatched; to react rapidly when ECOWAS and the AU denounced attacks in Guinea in 2009 and immediately demanded an international inquiry commission; and to use diplomatic pressure in response to the crisis in Cote d’Ivoire, where the AU and ECOWAS issued multiple communiqués, press releases and proposals denouncing the political crisis.”  

“Recent events only underscore the growing influence that regional organizations can have in the decision-making process of the UN Security Council.  Measures to protect populations in Libya were largely in response to appeals by the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council, who were among the first to call for a no-fly zone and demand the protection of civilians and foreign nationals.”

On their relationships with civil society:
“Regional and sub-regional organizations have taken efforts to enhance mechanisms for and relationships with civil society in the areas of conflict prevention and response.  This is evidenced by bodies such as the Economic Community of West African States through its Conflict Prevention Framework and ECOWARN, which include within their work efforts to coordinate awareness and responses by civil society.”   

On their indispensability in implementing RtoP:
“We cannot stress enough the importance of regional and sub-regional organizations…in the prevention of genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity.  Regional and sub-regional organizations are widely viewed as indispensable partners in translating the global commitment into actual policy.  It is in this same spirit that they can foster regional ownership of RtoP and ensure that it is localized in a manner consistent with regional norms.”

To see the full speech given by Nana Afadzinu at the UNGA dailogue on RtoP, follow this link.

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Filed under CivSoc, Event, Regional Orgs, RtoP, UN

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