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.***
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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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