Category Archives: Europe

#R2PWeekly: 9-13 December, 2019

This week in focus:

 Anniversary of the Genocide Convention

Each year on 9 December the international community marks the anniversary of the The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (“the Genocide Convention”), followed by the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on the 10th.

Atrocities continue to occur in spite of the historic calls of “never again.” Yet much can still be done to prevent these crimes and rebuild from them, whether it means better recognizing and responding to risk factors, or seeking accountability and ending impunity for perpetrators. In order to better protect populations and uphold the obligations States and the international community have under the Responsibility to Protect, it requires recognizing and fulfilling human rights, timely and decisive responses to risk factors, and the use of existing global mechanisms and multilateral collaboration working towards the establishment of peaceful and inclusive societies.

***Please note that the RtoP Weekly will resume its regular publication in 2020. We wish everyone a Happy New Year***

prevent genocide
Image via UN Photo

What to Watch:

Burma: Aung San Suu Kyi heads to The Hague for Myanmar genocide showdown (The Guardian)
This week, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) began its hearings in the Gambia’s case against Burma for the crimes committed against the Rohingya. The Gambia, on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, filed a case alleging genocide against the Rohingya, primarily occurring in August 2017. Aung Saan Suu Kyi appeared in the The Hague to argue the claims against the country. While the attention is on the events transpiring at the ICJ, actors call for continued action to address the root causes of the crisis, which continue to remain in place in policy and practice, institutionalizing the discrimination against the Rohingya people.

But Also Don’t Miss:

European Union: Statement by HR/VP Josep Borrell
The EU reaffirmed its commitment to the RtoP, genocide and atrocity prevention, and ending impunity on the Genocide Convention’s Anniversary.

Kenya: Elusive Justice for Gross Injustice, Abuse
The National Assembly failed to consider the findings of a report by the Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission, blocking justice for victims.

Syria: “My Only Crime Was That I Was a Doctor” How the Syrian Government Targets Health Workers for Arrest, Detention, and Torture
Reports continue to detail the targeting of health and aid workers by government forces, among other crimes, that may amount to atrocities.

Rohingya  refugees  exhausted  streaming  off  boats  arriving

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Filed under Burma, Europe, genocide, Kenya, Prevention, Reconciliation, RtoP, Syria, Uncategorized

#RtoPWeekly: 30 September – 4 October


This Week in Focus:
Plan of Action on Hate Speech and the RtoP

The 74th session of the UN General Assembly has come to a close, but not without several interesting and notable RtoP-related conversations.

One event entitled, “Confronting Hate and Protecting Rights” was held to discuss the UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech. The Plan of Action addresses the root causes and drivers of hate as well as the impact on victims. An interactive panel including UN Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Mr. Adama Dieng, who spoke of the ability for hate speech to be an indicator of mass atrocities, and that incitement to violence is included under RtoP. Hate speech and violence against minority groups continues to rise, and recognizing it requires accurate monitoring and identification, so the necessary actors can understand which communities are vulnerable, as well as the types of threats and its sources. Panelists spoke of the need for honest reporting on hate speech to increase its visibility, but noted that today’s hate speech is spread through social media such as WhatsApp and Facebook, which is harder to monitor and respond to in a timely manner.

A second event, “A Pathway to a Sustainable Solution to the Rohingya Crisis” was held by the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh, and detailed the plight of the 1.1 million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. Throughout its participation in various events around UNGA, Bangladesh called on the international community to assist them in protecting the Rohingya people within its borders, and reminding the international community of their obligations under Pillar Two of the RtoP, in helping both Bangladesh and Burma to ensure the safe and voluntary return of refugees. The event also outlined the current challenges in the crises, noting that attempts at repatriation have failed due to the mistrust between the Rohingya and the Burmese government, as well as an unwillingness of the Burmese government to address the structural and legal discrimination against the Rohingya, reinstate land rights, freedom of movement, and the right to citizenship, as well as ensuring accountability.

As part of the event, the Attorney General of the Gambia, Ba Tambadou, announced and detailed plans to file a case against Burma at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Mr. Tambadou described the events as “textbook acts calculated to destroy a people,” Adding that though genocide is committed by individuals, who should be held accountable, states also have a responsibility to protect and prevent and the Gambia’s case aims to underscore Burma’s failure to do so.

Rohingya  refugees  exhausted  streaming  off  boats  arriving
(Photo via the World Bank)

What to Watch:

Venezuela: UN Creates Independent Investigative Body (Human Rights Watch)
The UN Human Rights Council (HRC) adopted a resolution to create an independent fact-finding body to investigate alleged human rights violations in Venezuela since 2014. The body aims to ensure accountability for those who have committed such crimes, which include extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests, and torture. The HRC calls upon Venezuelan authorities to cooperate with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and failure to do so will result in the creation of a full commission of inquiry. The OHCHR body also hopes its work will ensure redress and access to justice for victims.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: The memory of Srebrenica is fading away (Al-Jazeera)
This opinion piece talks of the importance of memorialization in preventing future genocides. As ethnic and religious tensions continue to rise around the world, the author warns of the need for the experiences of survivors to help inform stakeholders’ future decisions. Understanding that what occurred in Srebrenica was not a once-off anomaly, but rather a long process of dehumanization and systematic extermination, is key to future prevention efforts. The danger of the creation of the “other” for political gain used to marginalize religious, ethnic, and minority groups, is evident in the past and current examples of mass atrocities in the world.

But Also Don’t Miss:

Cameroon: Cameroon dialogue starts as Anglophone separatists pull out
Cameroon’s national dialogue began Monday, marking two years since the conflict began, but several separatist leaders pulled out calling for international mediation.

Europe: Mounting Syrian War Crime Cases Raise Hopes For Justice Against A Brutal Regime
Victims of war crimes from Syria continue to file cases in European courts, citing universal jurisdiction.

Philippines: Filming the Philippines’ “War on Drugs”
International Criminal Court Prosecutors requested the submission of the new documentary “On the President’s Orders” to examine alleged government sanctioned crimes in the “war on drugs.”

Weekly Yazidi

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Tag or mention us! Use #ICRtoP or @ICRtoP to share your RtoP news and updates, or for a chance to be featured by ICRtoP.

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Filed under Burma, Cameroon, Europe, General Assembly, RtoP, Second Pillar, srebrenica, Uncategorized, Weekly Round-Up