This week in focus:
The US Recognizes the Armenian Genocide
Amidst the ongoing conflict and complications in Turkey and Northeast Syria as a result of the United States’ troop withdrawal, the House of Representatives passed a measure recognizing the Turkish state’s mass killings of ethnic Armenians as genocide. The killings, occurring during World War I, have long been denied this classification, and represent a shift and milestone in US-Turkish relations. The vote by the House speaks towards the cooling of relationship of the two counties, but as a form of condemnation of President Trump’s actions, which enabled ethnic violence against the Kurdish population in Turkey, where atrocities allegedly occurred.
Memorialization of atrocities is one way in which a population can be aided in its rebuilding process, and learning from those events serves as a way to maintain peaceful and inclusive societies, preventing the recurrence of future atrocities. Such recognition not only strengthens the memories and histories that serve as the basis for the global call of “never again,” but create an example of properly labeling atrocities as such, allowing the international community to better recognize and react to these events in the future. When the RtoP community looks at the norm, prevention is typically the primary area of focus, but these events are cyclical: rebuilding and incorporating legal and social protections and inclusion is an important prevention activity as well.
To learn more about the Armenian Genocide, check out the ICRtoP infographic.
Below: The Syrian Constitutional Committee meets in Geneva. Photo from Al-Jazeera [Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu]
What to Watch:
South Sudan: South Sudan rival leaders delay forming coalition government (Washington Post)
On 7 November, South Sudanese leaders, President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar announced a 100 day delay in the formation of a coalition government. The deadline, originally agreed upon in the peace accords, was initially set for next week. Complications arose, however when Machar said he was unwilling to join such a government, in part blaming broken ceasefire agreements. This announcement brought uncertainty and doubt about the full implementation of the peace agreement that aims to pull the country out of its protracted state of conflict. International actors as well as the African Union expressed concern over the recurrence of violence should the deal fail.
Syria: German Federal Prosecutor charges former high-ranking Assad government official with more than 4,000 cases of torture (European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights)
By charging a Syrian official with 4000 counts of torture, Germany’s Federal Prosecutor is taking steps to holding members of the Assad regime accountable for crimes, which some believe may amount to atrocities. This is the first case, globally about torture in Syria, setting a worldwide precedent over accountability measures for the crimes committed during the Civil War.
Meanwhile, government, opposition officials, and members of civil society are in Geneva, and began negotiations for a new Constitution. The committee is comprised of 150 members who have the task of reforming the country’s government document before submitting it to a vote among the Syrian population.
But Also Don’t Miss:
Asia Pacific: Asia Pacific Regional Outlook
Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect produced its quarterly report on the region, highlighting concerns in Burma, West Papua, Indonesia, Xianjian, China, and Papua New Guinea.
Burundi/Tanzania: Asylum Seekers Coerced into Going Home
Tanzania forced Burundian asylum seekers back despite reminders of its obligations under international law.
Cameroon: Nearly two million Cameroonians face humanitarian emergency: UNICEF
UNICEF reports 1.9million are now in need of humanitarian assistance in the Anglophone regions as a result of the increased instability.
CAR: Briefing: In Central African Republic, rebels fight on as peace deal falters
Violence in areas of CAR continues, despite the peace agreement, illustrating the need for accountability.
DRC: Bosco Ntaganda sentenced to 30 years for crimes in DR Congo
The International Criminal Court sentenced Bosco Ntaganda to 30 years for crimes against humanity and war crimes.
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