#R2P Weekly:27-31 July 2015


Infographic on Women, Peace and Security 

While the focus of the Women, Peace and Security agenda and the Responsibility to Protect differ in terms of scope and agenda, there are several ways in which they overlap and that work in these sectors can reinforce each other. Click here to see our latest infographic.

To learn more about how RtoP relates to other sectors, view our publication “RtoP And… (English and French) and readArms and Atrocities: Protecting Populations by Preventing the Means”.

Catch up on developments in…

Central African Republic
South Sudan


Student victims of the government crackdown on those protesting education reform earlier this year met with the Myanmar Human Rights Commission to discuss the violation of their Constitutional right to peacefully assemble. Local aid workers in Burma/Myanmar condemned the Burmese military for blocking aid to the estimated 1,000 newly displaced civilians from renewed fighting between the military and the Kachin Independence Army, saying such action was a violation of international humanitarian law.


Pierre Nkurunziza won his third five-year term in the heavily disputed presidential election with 69.41 % of the vote. Nkurunziza’s main opposition leader, Agathon Rwasa, accepted his elected seat as a deputy speaker of parliament in the Burundian National Assembly despite his refusal to legitimize the presidential election.

The UN electoral monitoring mission in Burundi, MENUB, released a statement saying that “while election day was relatively peaceful and conducted adequately, the overall environment was not conducive for an inclusive, free, and credible electoral process.” Reporters without Borders reported that elections took place under a massive media blackout imposed by President Nkurunziza. Burundi’s Forum for Strengthening Civil Society (FORSC) stated that Nkurunziza should not be part of any national unity government, as he has broken the Arusha Accords. Burundian refugees reportedly are not returning home after elections, fearful of continued violence.

Over 40 child soldiers surrendered to Burundian security forces after being unwittingly recruited by a rebel militia. They are currently imprisoned in Burundi, but many human rights defenders are calling for their release, citing Burundi’s ratification of the International Convention on the Rights of Child.

Central African Republic:
Clashes between ex-Seleka and Revolution Justice armed groups resulted in the deaths of 26 people.The International Committee for the Red Cross and CAR Red Cross reported that over 1000 people are still searching for missing loved ones. Amnesty International found that displaced Muslims returning home are being forced to abandon their religion by the anti-Balaka.

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) announced a severe financial deficit, meaning many Palestinians may be cut off from access to much-needed humanitarian services. Amnesty International and Forensic Architecture released new evidence showing that Israeli forces, in retaliation for the capture of an Israeli soldier, may have committed war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during “Black Friday” last year in Rafah. The Israel Defense Forces declared that they would widen their investigation into their soldiers’ conduct during last summer’s war in Gaza, including through examining the bombing of a civilian clinic.

The U.S. and allies conducted a series of 26 airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq   on Sunday in their continued fight to eradicate the group from the region. Turkey launched a campaign against Kurdish militants in Iraq, striking the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) base in northern Iraq. Turkey’s direct targeting of Kurdish armed groups in Iraq has effectively ended their fragile peace process with the Kurds, which began back in 2012.


Libya’s internationally recognized Information Minister, Omar Qweri, called for the UN Security Council to remove the arms embargo against Libya, claiming that this would enable the country to defeat the Islamic State in Libya by next year.

The Libyan court ruled that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and eight other Gaddafi associates will receive the death penalty for crimes committed during the 2011 revolution. In total, over 30 of Gaddafi’s allies were tried and now have 60 days to appeal their sentence. However, UN human rights officials announced that the trial did not meet international standards.  Libya’s minister of justice also condemned the trial as illegal, claiming judges in the case were acting under duress. ICRtoP member, Human Rights Watch, among several other civil society organizations, also objected to the death sentences and the way in which the trials were conducted.

Militants, suspected to be Boko Haram members, conducted raids and kidnappings of an estimated 30 people surrounding Lake Chad, in which three civilians and thirteen Boko Haram militants were killed. A child suicide bomber detonated herself in a crowded Damaturu city market in Yobe state, killing at least 16 people with an estimated 50 others injured. Two other would-be suicide bombers were reportedly arrested. Nigerian soldiers halted a Boko Haram attack in the town of Buratai in Borno State, while also rescuing 30 civilians, mostly children, in another part of the region. Nigeria appointed Iliya Abbah as the General for the Multinational Joint Task Force to fight Boko Haram, though there is still no clear date for the force’s deployment.

South Sudan:
The SPLM-in Opposition, led by Riek Machar, announced that it would hold a consultative meeting in the first week of August to discuss the new IGAD-Plus peace proposal circulated last week. The latest proposal included clauses maintaining that no amnesty would be granted to individuals responsible for committing crimes after December 15, 2013. South Sudan’s rival parties claimed to have made significant progress compromising on key issues and are hopeful of the prospect of reaching an agreement.

The UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Stephen O’Brien, urged all parties in South Sudan to lay down their arms and commit to sustainable peace. A local official reported that South Sudanese government troops stole food aid and killed seven people in an attack in Unity State that forced 35,000 civilians to flee into the bush. Men, suspected to be from the Murle tribe, abducted three children in Jonglei state.

Obama held a multilateral regional meeting on South Sudan and counter-terrorism in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. South Sudan’s foreign minister announced a plan to petition the AU and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) for a breach of protocol for not insisting that the South Sudanese government be invited to the meeting with Obama. The Obama Administration is reportedly considering implementing new sanctions and an arms embargo on South Sudan if leaders fail to reach a peace agreement by mid-August.

The African Centre for Justice and Peace accused the Sudanese army in West Darfur of torturing a captive to death for allegedly providing information to the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). Two other captives are at risk of suffering the same fate. JEM-Dabajo and the ruling party met in attempts to end the historical tensions between the two groups. JEM-Dabajo reiterated their plans to run for chairmanship of the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) to ensure better distribution of reconstruction projects.

Days after Turkey launched its first attack against the Islamic State in Syria, the Turkish Prime Minister blamed the rise of the Islamic State on the international community’s inaction against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Early in the week, the US, Turkey, and Syrian insurgents, agreed on a plan in which they would work together to target IS militants in the northern region of Syria bordering Turkey to create an “ISIS free” zone. However, there are multiple conflicting reports on whether the U.S. has actually agreed to the plan, what the plan would entail, how it would be implemented, and its ultimate goal.

Following the establishment of the plan for an “ISIS free” zone, NATO met to discuss Turkey’s campaign not only against ISIS but also Kurdish armed groups in Iraq. The two targets are uniquely opposed to one another, but Turkey has grouped them together under its campaign to fight terrorism in the region. NATO members ultimately expressed support for Turkey’s recent military actions against IS as well as the Kurdish armed groups.

The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) accused Turkish forces of shelling a Kurdish village in northern Syria, a claim denied by Turkey.

In his first public speech in a year, President Assad spoke on the ongoing war in Syria and admitted that the government has suffered some recent military setbacks and a shortage of soldiers.

Stephen O’Brien, the head of OCHA, briefed the UN Security Council on the dire humanitarian situation in Syria and called for a political solution to the ongoing crisis. He noted that attacks by government and allied forces in the Damascus suburb of Zabadani has led to a high number of civilian deaths and displacement. The Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, also presented recommendations to the UN Security Council for achieving a political solution in Syria, which would strengthen progress on the “Geneva Communique” by creating a Syrian-owned framework for implementation.

A vehicle exploded just minutes before a fragile five-day humanitarian pause was set to take hold on Sunday, killing 10 Houthi rebels and prompting a Houthi-led shelling of residential areas in the city of Taiz in retaliation. The Saudi Arabia-led coalition seized a key town in its fight against Houthi rebels in Yemen, following the arrival of hundreds of additional Yemeni fighters trained in Saudi Arabia.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on the UN Human Rights Council to establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the Saudi-led bombings in Yemen, actions which may amount to war crimes. HRW also found that attacks by pro-Houthi forces have indiscriminately targeted civilians in Aden, killing dozens with mortar shells and rockets.

What else is new?

The Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect published a blog written by Obinna Ifediora on “Continental Sovereignty: Challenges and Opportunities for Implementation in Africa.”

UNelections.org Campaign and Information Center noted this week that “The Accountability, Coherence and Transparency (ACT) Group has distributed a revised version of a non-paper which calls on all member states to take “timely and decisive action” in cases of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. The non-paper is endorsed by the 27 states who are members of the ACT group, as well as the Netherlands and Spain. In a meeting on 29 July, the group presented the draft and invited all member states to provide feedback and join the list of endorsing states. The group hopes to finalize the text, with input from member states and civil society, this coming October in connection with the 70th anniversary of the UN.”

Human Rights Watch released a report describing Guinea’s security forces use of excessive lethal force, abusive conduct, and lack of political neutrality during election-related protests that took place during April and May of 2015.


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