Category Archives: Event

Civil Society Reflections on the Sixth General Assembly Dialogue on RtoP

On September 8, 2014, the UN General Assembly held its 6th annual informal, interactive dialogue on the Responsibility to Protect and the thematic issue of Pillar II international assistance. The following day, the ICRtoP Steering Committee also met for its annual meeting. Blog and Social Media Coordinator Matthew Redding sat down with some of our Steering Committee members, including Alex Bellamy, Executive Director of the Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (APCR2P), Donald Deya, Chief Executive Officer of the Pan-African Lawyer’s Union (PALU) and current Chair of the ICRtoP Steering Committee, and William Pace, Executive Director of the World Federalist Movement- Institute for Global Policy (WFM-IGP) to get their unique perspectives on the General Assembly dialogue.

 

Regional Voices

In the wake of the dialogue, the ICRtoP was fortunate enough to obtain reflections on common themes and key statements from Steering Committee members representing diverse regions of the globe. With APCR2P’s focus on promoting RtoP in the ASEAN region through initiatives such as the High Level Advisory Panel on the Responsibility to Protect in Southeast Asia, Alex Bellamy highlighted some developments seen from these member states. 20140908_162219

 “We’ve definitely seen stronger participation. In past years, we’ve had a difficult time persuading member states to participate. ASEAN states usually haven’t been forthcoming and now they’re expressing their views. This year we had 5 of 10, which is I think the highest number we’ve had. Of those, Indonesia, Philippines, and Thailand were incredibly strong. They were as strong a supporter of RtoP as any European or any other proponent of RtoP would be.

In regards to Indonesia, Bellamy noted their reaffirmation that “…they’ve always been supportive of RtoP, that they’re a champion of it, and that they are firmly committed to it.”  On Thailand’s statement, he drew particular attention to the mention of “…the empowerment of women and the importance of gender perspective,” while enthusiastically recalling that “The Philippines also had a strong endorsement of RtoP and expressed their desire to move the agenda forward towards implementation.”

On a less positive note, Bellamy referred to Malaysia’s statement, which showed that “Malaysia is cautious, it’s always been cautious. It’s concerned about things like conditionality, its concerned when it sees what it perceives as attempts to expand the concept. There was no movement in what Malaysia said this year from last year and the year before that…so we need to spend more time engaging with Malaysia.”

However, this was tempered with a reminder of the importance of Myanmar’s participation, “Myanmar was the 5th to contribute and I think it’s a really good sign. The following day, their legal advisor attended the launch of the High-Level Report on Mainstreaming RtoP in Southeast Asia and said that this [RtoP] was now customary international law. So Myanmar accepts the principle, but of course, there are all sorts of issues regarding their political transition – specifically in relation to the Rohingya situation, where there is deeply embedded discrimination against that group…It’s really encouraging that Myanmar is participating and it just shows how well embedded RtoP is becoming. It’s not surprising that they’re cautious, but it reminds that we still need to engage them more.”

Representing an organization that works closely with the African Union on legal and human rights issues, Donald Deya of PALU expressed somewhat mixed views on the African participation in this year’s dialogue.

Deya recalled that “In previous years the African Union Mission to the United Nations has made a statement, so I was disappointed to see that this year they did not.” Deya compared the absent AU presence with the strong European Union statement he believed the AU should have also delivered, given the large number of RtoP cases located on the African continent.

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivering his remarks at the opening of the GA dialogue.

He also added that he would have liked to see more statements from African countries in general, particularly from Kenya “…which is one of the areas in which the international community’s RtoP intervention has been successful.”

However, Deya was sure to mention that he was happy with the few African countries that did make statements. For example, when recalling Cote d’Ivoire’s  comments, he asserted that it was “…very useful, and of course their acknowledgement that assistance has been important from the international community in terms of pillar I and pillar II was also welcomed.”

 

RtoP Implementation at the UN

An important aspect of RtoP’s evolution is how it is prioritized and applied by the major organs of the UN, in particular the Security Council and the General Assembly. Speaking on behalf of the WFM-IGP – an organization that works tirelessly to improve the effectiveness of these bodies to ensure they better serve the world’s peoples – Bill Pace reflected on RtoP’s development at this level:

 “I am optimistic from the GA [General Assembly] meeting that governments are taking RtoP more seriously every year. This includes the Security Council, in spite some of the controversies over misuse, selective application, or inappropriate enforcement.”

Pace noted that there is certainly room for improvement given these controversies, and added that:

“Over the next decade, I hope the democracies of the UN system will continue to press the permanent and elected members of the Security Council to do peace enforcement and peacekeeping on a much more efficient, and non-selective level. In that regard the permanent members of the Security Council must be pressured to refrain from using the veto in situations where mass atrocity crimes under international law are being committed.” Encouragingly, the dialogue provided Pace with some hope, as he stated, “I am personally optimistic that the General Assembly and the Security Council are moving in that direction.”

 Importantly, he provided a reminder that next year will be the 10th anniversary of the 2005 World Summit and mentioned that, “The assessment we will be doing at the UN and within the GA may result in RtoP moving from an informal dialogue into a more formal agenda item that may be discussed and have a resolution every year.” He added that the Coalition would be actively involved in efforts to strengthen RtoP within the General Assembly.

 

General Reflections

Each interview concluded with some general thoughts on the dialogue, including some stand-out statements, and speculation on what the event means for RtoP moving forward. Bellamy singled out Iran as a surprisingly “fantastic” statement, noting that:

Iran has contributed before and has always been broadly supportive, though cautious. The positive thing about Iran’s statement is that there was no caution at all. This might be because of the subject matter and that international assistance is less controversial than pillar III and pillar I, but I think it’s also a sign that the consensus on RtoP is getting more deeply embedded.”

Bellamy also reflected on the evolving consensus and deepening shared understanding of what RtoP is, “A couple of missions talked about sequencing, but not very many and certainly much fewer than the year before. Also, nobody was disputing what RtoP is, what the three pillars are, what crimes it related to, or what the development mechanisms are.”

Bellamy ended with a couple of positive observations, concluding that “…now the debate really is shifting to this question of implementation, or what to do in practice, and not what the principle is and whether or not the Assembly is committed. Even Cuba and Venezuela have toned it down in terms of their comments, and I think this shows that there is a consensus and that the debate is indeed moving forward.”

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ICRtoP Steering Committee in discussions with the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng.

Deya agreed with Bellamy on several points, noting that, “…there has been progress in the sense that a couple of years ago the level of suspicion and even outright hostility was quite palpable, and the number of states expressing these sentiments was quite high. But a lot of the skepticism has changed to support, even if it is conditional support.” 

He also agreed that consensus is deepening, stating that“…there is a sense of resignation where there is no longer a question of whether RtoP exists at the UN or the community of states. It’s more or less a comment on how we can do it better.” Deya also made note of the softening stance of traditional opponents such as Cuba and Iran, agreeing that Iran’s statement in particular was “quite positive.”

Additionally, Deya made an important point on the increased involvement of civil society, observing that “one of the things that has happened under the current joint office and the two current Special Advisers [on the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect]  is that they have given more scope to civil society.”

As a sign of this progress, he recalled that there was “…more opportunity to address the interactive debate than ever before, with 4 civil society organizations that were allowed to speak.” Perhaps more importantly, he also noted “…the whole process of being consulted extensively by Dr. Welsh on the drafting of the Secretary-General’s report and the mobilization of the Coalition and its members is very positive. “

Pace recalled a different statement as being particularly notable. He expressed that there had been worry over Russia’s position, given current hostilities in Ukraine. However, ultimately he believed that the Russian statement “…was actually much better than expected.”

Pace’s concluding thoughts were a poignant way to summarize the dialogue. He took note of the broad participation from roughly 70 countries, some of which spoke for up to 28 countries in their region. He called the day-long event “quite an achievement” that demonstrated “growing political will,” evident in the diminishing number of skeptics in the General Assembly. Pace then provided a solemn reminder that the goal of RtoP and its measures under the various pillars is to bring about a reality where mass atrocities are an exception, rather than the rule and where application of the norm is a non-issue.

 

A detailed overview of the dialogue and a full listing of member state, regional and civil society statements are available via the ICRtoP website.

The opinions expressed in these interviews are those of the individuals featured, and do not represent the position of the ICRtoP.

 

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Practitioners and Academics Assess RtoP From 2001-2022 at R2P: The Next Decade

On January 18th, the Stanley Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York and MacArthur Foundation hosted a conference that brought together practitioners from all levels and academics to discuss the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) for its tenth anniversary.

A star-studded cast of panelists addressed the attendees, including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Prosecutor-elect of the ICC Fatou Bensouda, Under-Secretary General (USG) for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe, USG for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous, USG, Executive Director of UN Women Michele Bachelet, and Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonovic. Civil society was also well-represented among the panelists, including Louise Arbour, President and CEO of the International Crisis Group, Noel Morada, Executive Director of the Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect – both ICRtoP members – and Simon Adams, Executive Director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect.

Marking the tenth anniversary of the publication of the ICISS report, the conference was a significant and timely review of the past, present and future of the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP). With the recent situations in Côte d’Ivoire and Libya, the conference served as an important forum to discuss, debate and better understand the ‘lessons learned’ from the manner in which the international community responded to those situations. R2P: The Next Decade was also an honest forum for reflection on the implications of the above situations for the norm moving forward, particularly with the ongoing violence in the Sudans and Syria.  The conference was live-streamed on Fora.tv, and was live-tweeted by a number of organizations and individuals (including ICRtoP) on the #R2P10 hashtag.

In this post, we walk you through the major themes discussed at R2P: The Next Decade, featuring important commentary from the panelists, and links to videos and tweets. For more important thoughts from those live-tweeting the conference, see our Tweeting R2P: The Next Decade post.

Debate on RtoP’s ‘Added-Value’ 

Important points were raised regarding the norm’s added-value from 2001 onwards, particularly  in mustering the political will and resources from the international community to respond to the situations where one or more of the four RtoP crimes are threatened or have been committed. RtoP scholar and University of Queensland Professor Alex Bellamy argued at the panel on R2P as a Tool – Indentifying Past and Potential Added Value that the norm has fundamentally changed the international debate from no longer focusing on ‘whether to act, but how to act.’

At the same panel, Ramesh Thakur, a former member of ICISS, responded to questions regarding the pedigree of the norm by raising the important point that ‘RtoP as a ‘northern concept’ is not correct…the protection of peoples is reflected within a diverse array of cultures and religions’.

In a debate that erupted at the same panel on the norm’s status as a ‘tool’ or a ‘principle’, Dr. Ed Luck, the Secretary-General’s Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, refuted the idea that RtoP is a tool, stating that ‘tools are used whenever it is handy’ and ‘can serve other agendas’. Instead, Dr. Luck asserted that ‘RtoP is a principle with a number of tools at its disposal’ to respond to very different situations.

At the final panel of the day – R2P in 2022Hervé Ladsous, the USG for Peacekeeping Operations, echoed the call of the Secretary-General to make 2012 the ‘year of prevention’ by stressing the importance of ensuring national governments possess the capacities to prevent the four RtoP crimes from occurring, consistent with RtoP’s 1st pillar.

In bringing practitioners and academics together, R2P: The Next Decade was an enlightening and honest forum for debate and discussion on the norm itself, leaving attendees with a more holistic picture of its formation, it’s implementation, and its added-value. The day ended in with what MacArthur Foundation Senior Vice President Barry Lowenkron called ‘sober optimism’: A recognition of the progress that has been made with RtoP, the great potential for the norm’s future, but an awareness of the challenges that RtoP supporters faced in realizing that potential. In short, echoing Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, everyone at the conference was left knowing that while much work is to be done, RtoP is indeed ‘here to stay’.

The ICC: A Viable Tool in the RtoP Framework

Prosecutor-elect of the ICC Fatou Bensouda offered her insight on the relationship between the Responsibility to Protect and the International Criminal Court (a topic we’ll be exploring further on this blog, so follow this site). Speaking at the final panel, R2P in 2022 , Bensouda suggested that ‘holding leaders accountable for RtoP crimes will have a deterrent effect on others who may be considering their commission’. As such, the incoming Prosecutor was firm in asserting that the ICC was a viable tool in the RtoP framework.

Important questions were raised at the panel on R2P as a Tool – Indentifying Past and Potential Added Value chaired by Louise Arbour, the President and CEO of the International Crisis Group. Arbour raised concerns about the Court’s relationship with the UN Security Council, particularly the Council’s power to refer situations to the ICC despite the fact that three veto-wielding permanent members – the United States, Russia and China – have not ratified the Rome Statute. The International Crisis Group President also worried about the efficacy of ICC referrals in the midst of hostilities in country-specific situations. Luck shared Arbour’s concerns, but responded by asserting the importance of the ICC ‘as one of the few tools we have to remind leaders of accountability for the commitment of RtoP crimes’.

The lively debate on the relationship of the RtoP and the ICC was an important theme at the conference, and attendees left with compelling points to consider how the ICC fits into RtoP framework and its role in preventing and responding to the four RtoP crimes.

The Role of Regional and Sub-Regional Organizations

The role of regional and sub-regional organizations in the RtoP framework was discussed at length at the conference, particularly regarding their ability to confer legitimacy to the international community’s efforts to respond to country-specific situations.

While touting their preventive and response potential, Francis Deng, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, noted the need to build and strengthen the capacities of regional and sub-regional organizations in order to implement RtoP, stating, ‘While there is a lot to be said for regional organizations, there are weaknesses with their capacities even if they offer legitimacy’. This was a common thread in last year’s General Assembly informal interactive dialogue on RtoP, which explored the role of regional and sub-regional organizations. For more information please see our report.

Liberata Mulamula, Former Executive Secretary of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), stressed how RtoP had been brought ‘home’  by the sub-regional organization at R2P – Policy Approaches Since 2005 in DRC, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, and Libya, which has been a significant factor in how engaged the ICGLR has been on the prevention of genocide and mass atrocities.

At the same panel, Knut Vollebaek, the High Commissioner on National Minorities for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), indicated that while the European body does not directly use RtoP language in its work, he believed that it is ripe for institutionalizing the norm.

Civil Society’s Importance in the RtoP Framework

There was widespread agreement at R2P: The Next Decade of the critical role that can be played by civil society in upholding the RtoP. The involvement of the International Crisis Group, the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, the Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, and a number of academics confirmed the importance of civil society in furthering the global discourse on the norm in all regions.

In his keynote address, the Secretary-General noted the importance of civil society in stating that the four RtoP crimes are unlikely to occur where ‘civil society is robust’. The Secretary-General also affirmed the importance of the United Nations working in collaboration with civil society even in times of crisis, highlighting the role that civil society organizations can play in mitigating violence in both Syria and South Sudan.

In calling for 2012 to be the ‘year of prevention’, the Secretary-General clearly sees an important role for civil society in the RtoP preventive framework, which was echoed by speakers in a number of different conference panels.

On Libya and Syria

Libya was a major topic of discussion at R2P: The Next Decade, with most speakers offering their insights on the response of the international community to the situation and its implications moving forward, especially in Syria. An article from Mark L. Goldberg at UN Dispatch sums up the discussion at the conference well:

As Gareth Evans, the former Australian foreign minister who is one of the intellectual fathers of the Responsibility to Protect put it, “Libya is a textbook case for the application of the R2P.” He’s right. The intervention happened quickly, helped avoid a potential mass atrocity in Benghazi, and had the formal backing of the Security Council.  This is pretty much how it is supposed to work.

But success in Libya may have come at the expense of intervention (even non-military intervention) in Syria. NATO’s interpretation of the Security Council mandate helped it achieve its goals with efficiency, but it poisoned any chance that the Security Council would coalesce around R2P when a future crisis arose.

“Syria is the collateral victim of Libya the same way that Rwanda was the collateral victim of Somalia,” said Jean Marie Guehenno, the longtime head of UN Peacekeeping.  In other words, just as the Black Hawk Down made western powers wary of even contemplating a humanitarian intervention in Rwanda three years later, the steamrolling of non-western interests in the execution of the Libyan intervention is coloring Russia, China other non-western powers’ approach to Syria.  

This was reflected in the comments made by Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, Hardeep Singh Puri, in the aftermath of the Secretary General’s keynote to the conference, who questioned whether the international had to ‘step in through the use of coercive force’. The Ambassador would later share his thoughts on RtoP and the situation in Libya in an interview with the Stanley Foundation.

Despite the Secretary-General’s pleas to the regime of Bashar al-Assad to cease it’s crackdown against civilian protesters, expressed in this tweet, a consensus seemed to emerge at R2P: The Next Decade that the manner in which Resolution 1973 was implemented will be a deterrent to more robust action on behalf of the Security Council.

Focus on Brazil’s ‘Responsibility While Protecting’

Another theme of conversation at R2P: The Next Decade was Brazil’s ‘responsibility while protecting’ (RwP) concept, which it has officially circulated to the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly.

Brazil’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, was a speaker for the R2P in 2022 panel, and explored the concept further, stating that Libya was a ‘defining moment’ that informed RwP’s elaboration. While she recognized that ‘stronger measures were necessary’ to send a message to the Gaddafi regime to cease violence against protesters, the Brazilian mission felt that the Security Council’s adoption of Resolution 1973 authorized a ‘blank cheque with no control over what was to be done or who was to do it’ in Libya. Ambassador Viotti also expressed the fact that her country, along with others at the Council, felt ‘in the dark’ with regards to the Libya operation.

As a direct result, the Brazilian President, Dilma Roussef, elaborated the need for ‘responsibility while protecting’ at the opening of the 66th session of the General Assembly, which Ambassador Viotti expressed was to show ‘how important our concerns with Libya were’. As evident in her segment of the final panel, Brazil’s objective with its ‘responsibility while protecting’ concept, is to reassess the manner in which the use of force is employed to protect civilians. This is particularly timely as the General Assembly is set to discuss the 3rd pillar of RtoP – timely and decisive action – in 2012.

Other speakers, including the UN Secretary-General, Gareth Evans, Dr. Ramesh Thakur and Dr. Ed Luck, offered their thoughts on Brazil’s RwP concept. The Secretary-General threw his full support behind the idea, but cautioned that the consideration of RwP must not lead to inaction:

‘Historically, our chief failing as an international community has been the reluctance to act in the face of serious threats. The results, too often, have been the loss of lives and credibility that haunt us ever-after. Let us not let the pendulum swing back to the past. Let us not make the best the enemy of the good.”

While supporting the RwP idea in principle, both Dr. Ed Luck and Gareth Evans were cautious about Brazil’s desire to sequence the pillars of RtoP in responding to any particular country-specific situation. Luck asserted that RtoP’s pillars ‘are parallel’ and that the international community must be preparing for contingencies through all three at local, regional and global levels. Evans firmly echoed this by stating that the danger of the Brazilian initiative was its emphasis on the need for the pillars to be chronological, which he said ‘cannot be the case’. In the question period to the final panel, Lt. Gen (Ret’d) Senator Romeo Dallaire raised concerns that Brazil’s RwP would lead to a ‘dissecting of RtoP to death’ that might lead to inaction in country-specific cases.

Nonetheless, the attention given to Brazil’s RwP concept at R2P: The Next Decade provides a fairly certain forecast that it will motivate reflection during the General Assembly’s informal interactive dialogue on RtoP’s 3rd pillar this year, and be integral to the norm’s development moving into the next decade.

Resources & Further Reading

R2P: The Next Decade

Keynote and Panel Discussion Videos

Interview with Lt. Gen (Ret’d) Senator Romeo Dallaire on RtoP at 10

Interview with Dr. Michael Ignatieff on RtoP at 10

ICRtoP – Tweeting R2P: The Next Decade

Enough Project – 10 Years of the Responsibility to Protect: A Glimpse at Sudan

The Century Foundation Blog – Syria Post-Libya: Testing RtoP

Our congratulations and sincere thanks to the three sponsors for organizing and hosting R2P: The Next Decade.

 

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Tweeting R2P: The Next Decade

R2P: The Next Decade, a conference hosted by the Stanley Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the MacArthur Foundation on January 18th, was live-streamed and live-tweeted on the #R2P10 hashtag. Individuals and organizations came together on the micro-blogging site to follow the event, share important comments from panelists, and offer their insight on the topics discussed. This post features some important tweets from some of those who followed the discussion online with us.

The Stanley Foundation tweeted important points from the Secretary-General’s keynote address, ICC Prosecutor-elect Fatou Bensouda’s thoughts on the relationship between RtoP and the ICC and comments from the Secretary General’s Special Advisor on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Margot Wallström, on the role of women and children in the RtoP framework:

@StanleyFound: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: We can now say with confidence that this fundamental principle, #R2P, is here to stay. #R2P10

@StanleyFound: SG Ban: We embrace #R2P not because it is easy, but because it is right. #R2P10

@StanleyFound: Fatou Bensouda, ICC Prosecutor-Elect: The ICC should be seen as a tool in the #R2P toolbox. #R2P10

@StanleyFound: Wallstrom: We can’t think about operationalizing #R2P without thinking about what that means, in practice, for women and children. #R2P10

The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect tweeted the concerns of the Secretary-General in carrying out UN mandates without sufficient resources, the insights of Dr. Ramesh Thakur on RtoP, and OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Ambassador Knut Vollebaek’s comments on the need for greater collaboration with regional organizations.

@GCR2P: #UNSG -key challenge is how do we do our job? how do we deliver on #UNSC mandates when members do not give us the resources we need? #R2P10

@GCR2P: Thakur at #R2P10: #R2P is a “bridging device” between unilateral humanitarian action and international indifference

@GCR2P: Knut Vollebaek at #R2P10 – discusses need for greater coordination between UN and regional organizations in responding to #R2P situations

Kirsten Hagon of Oxfam International, tweeted the fears raised by International Crisis Group President and CEO Louise Arbour of protecting civilians in war and by war.

@KirstenOxUN: Louise Arbour raises fear: central pillar of IHL is to protect civilians in war, new cause of war is to protect civilians BY war. #r2p10

Kyle Matthews, Will to Intervene Project (W2I), tweeted Dr. Noel Morada’s (Executive Director of the Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, an ICRtoP member) statements on civil society’s role in the RtoP framework and the need to expand the number of countries with legislators working on RtoP at the domestic level.

@kylecmatthews: Civil society has a big role to play in R2P, especially in training govt officials and advocacy, says Noel Morada #R2P10

@kylecmatthews: Only 2 countries have groups of legislators working on R2P, Canada and UK. Need to expand that number. #R2P10 @W2IProject

Rebecca Hamilton, Reuters, on Dr. Francis Deng, the Secretary General’s Advisor on Genocide Prevention, and his insight on societies where the four RtoP trigger crimes occur most frequently

@bechamilton: Deng: civilian protection problems often stem from societies that have a crisis of national identity, where minorities are excluded #R2P10

Mark Goldberg, UN Dispatch, tweeted the recurring discussion surrounding the implications of the UN-mandated, NATO-led operation in Libya, established by UN Resolution 1973.

@MarkLGoldberg: One big recurring theme is that the “success” of intervention in Libya has undermined any chance of Security Council action on Syria. #R2P10

Adam Lupel, International Peace Institute, tweeted Special Adviser on RtoP Dr. Ed Luck’s assertion that RtoP is not a tool that can used to serve other agendas and used when handy, but a principle to be applied with tools at its disposal.

@ALupel: #r2p10 Ed Luck: R2P is not a tool to be used when handy. It is a principle to be applied judiciously.

Jeffrey Laurenti, The Century Foundation, tweeted about the Secretary General’s statements on the situation in Libya and Lt. Gen. (Ret’d) Senator Romeo Dallaire’s question to Brazil’s Permanent Representative at the UN regarding the ‘responsibility while protecting’ concept.

@J_Laurenti: At #R2P10 #BanKimoon says NATO mil action on #Libya was within terms of #UNSecCoun Reso 1973, acknowledges some don’t agree

@J_Laurenti: #Rwanda PK cmdr Roméo Dallaire warns @ #R2P10 that Brazil rules&restrictions on R2P would tie #UN in knots–so responses migrate elsewhere

Daniel Solomon, STAND USA, tweeted about comments made by Dr. Jennifer Welsh, Oxford Professor and co-Director of the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict, on Kenya being the model case for RtoP.

@danatgu: Good pt from Welsh at #R2P10 on #Kenya‘s model for preventive diplomacy, non-coercive intervent’n. Seems like the real textbook case to me.

Evan Cinq-Mars, ICRtoP, tweeted about comments made from Dr. Ed Luck, Special Advisor to the Secretary-Gernal on RtoP, about how the norm offers a new strategy for the international community to implement existing international law.

@ecinqmars: Responding to @louise_arbour, Luck says #R2P is both political + legal. R2P offers strategy to implement existing international law. #R2P10

Editor’s note: The list of other tweets that reflected important topics of discussion from R2P: The Next Decade, and are meant to continue the discussion from the conference. They are in no particular order. The comments expressed in the tweets do not represent the views of the Secretariat of the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect, its Members or its NGO Supporters.

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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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Thoughts on the 12 July UN General Assembly Dialogue on RtoP

On July 12, the General Assembly convened its 3rd annual informal interactive dialogue on RtoP. The dialogue, which focused on the role of regional and sub-regional organizations in implementing the Responsibility to Protect, was held in response to the 27 June report by the Secretary-Generalon the same topic.The dialogue was an opportunity to advance the General Assembly’s consideration of RtoP, specifically regarding the role that regional organizations play in preventing and halting mass atrocities and how to strengthen regional capacity to protect civilians.

The President of the General Assembly (PGA), Joseph Deiss, chaired the dialogue, which featured two panel discussions split between the morning and afternoon sessions. The first panel, which focused on “Regional and sub-regional perspectives and experience”, included statements from  Ambassador Liberata Mulamula, Executive Secretary of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR); Knut Vollebaek, High Commissioner on National Minorities at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE); and Victor Rico Frontaura, Secretary of the Secretariat for Political Affairs at the Organization of American States (OAS).

The second panel discussion, which commenced the afternoon session of the GA dialogue, was led by Dr. Ed Luck, the Special Advisor to the Secretary General (SASG) on RtoP, and Dr. Francis Deng, the SASG on the Prevention of Genocide. The two SASG’s focused on “United Nations perspectives and experience”, and responded to questions and comments raised by member states.

A total of 43 members states and 4 representatives from civil society spoke over the course of the day-long dialogue, including two members of the ICRtoP steering committee, the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, and Institute of Analysis & Conflict Resolution at George Mason University.

Below are some thoughts on the meeting:

  • Strong support for role of regional, sub-regional orgs in RtoP implementation: Member states that gave remarks supported a strong role for regional and sub-regional organizations, particularly with regards to early warning, assessment, mediation, and contributions to both diplomatic, and when and if necessary, military solutions to RtoP situations.
  • Prioritizing prevention: Member states that participated in the dialogue made it very clear that the prevention of mass atrocity within the RtoP framework should be prioritized moving forward. In this regard, member states remarked on the critical importance of strengthening early warning, mediation and other tools for prevention.
  • Pillar 3 and emphasizing the use of force as a last resort: Member States emphasized that third pillar response includes peaceful, economic, diplomatic and humanitarian means, with the use of force as a last resort. Several Member States expressed interest in continuing discussions on the implementation of pillar 3, supporting the proposal in the Secretary-General report to hold next year’s debate on the issue.
  • Concerns over implementation of UNSC Res 1973 in Libya: A number of states raised concerns over the implementation of RtoP in response to the situation in Libya, specifically with regards to use of force by the NATO-led operation.
  • Diminishing number of norm detractors: A prominent feature of UN discussions on RtoP has been the diminishing number of norm detractors: Those states who vocalize that RtoP is a new form of Western imperialism, or outright deny the existence of an agreement over an RtoP. Only three states (Cuba, Venezuela, and Pakistan) offered explicitly negative statements towards the norm at the dialogue, with many of the traditional detractors posing important questions with regards to RtoP implementation and the role of regional and sub-regional organizations. The need to safeguard the norm from abuse was also a prominent point raised by many smaller, southern states.
  • Strong session from the SASG’s:   Both SASG’s were vocal in the need to move towards more consistent and effective implementation of the norm, and not allow continued debate over the norm to hamstring the UN to protect civilians when necessary. Dr. Luck was perhaps most vocal on the need to recognize that prevention, while an integral focal point of RtoP, can never be perfect and that UN members must consider timely and decisive action when prevention fails. As he aptly stated in his opening remarks: “A stool with two legs will not stand.”
  • Lack of African, Asian representation: Unfortunately, both the African continent and the Asia-Pacific region were under-represented at the dialogue. While the AU made a statement, only three African countries (Guinea, Kenya, Morocco) made remarks. No statement was given on behalf of ASEAN, and only six countries (Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, South Korea, North Korea) from Asia-Pacific gave a statement. A potential explanation for this limited participation is the competing Ministerial and Security Council meetings that had been scheduled at the same time. Furthermore, the Secretary-General’s report was only published a few days prior to the dialogue, giving member states little time to prepare statements.
  • Importance of civil society reaffirmed: The integral role of civil society in contributing to the evolution and implementation of RtoP was reaffirmed at the dialogue. UN officials including the SG, PGA and the SASG’s, along with a number of member states, all remarked on the need for continued civil society engagement on the norm moving forward.

As always, we want to bring you into the RtoP conversation, so we’ve got some questions for you!

  • What are your thoughts on the role of regional and subregional organizations in implementing RtoP?
  • Should the preventive elements of the RtoP framework be prioritized moving forward? If so, what happens when prevention fails?
  • Do you think that the diminishing number of norm detractors means a growing trend towards a more widespread international acceptance of the norm?
If you missed the UN dialogue on RtoP and want to view its entirety, they’re hosted here and here via UN News & Media. Also, be sure to follow our wesbite as we work to complete our database of member state and civil society speeches offered at the debate. Did you attend the UNGA dialogue and have thoughts to share? Be sure to comment below!

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

Upcoming Event: Civil Society Perspectives – The Role of Regional Organizations in Implementing RtoP, Reflections of Application of Norm to Country Cases

   

  

Event Information: 

11 July 2011

9:30-13:15

Church Center, 2nd floor

UN Plaza, 44th and 1st Avenue

rsvp@responsibilitytoprotect.org

 On 12 July 2011, the UN General Assembly will convene its 3rd annual informal interactive dialogue on RtoP, which will focus on the role of regional and sub-regional organizations in implementing the Responsibility to Protect. The dialogue will be an opportunity to advance the General Assembly’s consideration of RtoP, specifically regarding the role that regional organizations play in preventing and halting mass atrocities and how to strengthen regional capacity to protect.

In preparation for the 12 July General Assembly interactive dialogue, the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect, the Stanley Foundation, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, will host a half day panel featuring civil society perspectives on how RtoP has been strengthened and implemented by regional organizations as well as reflections on the application of RtoP in country situations such as Libya, Cote D’Ivoire, Guinea, Sudan, Sri Lanka and Kenya. Edward Luck, Special Advisor on RtoP will open the event and Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, will provide the keynote address.

9:30-9:45             Coffee and light breakfast

9:45-10:00             Welcome

William PACE, Co-Founder & Steering Committee Member, International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect & Executive Director, WFM-Institute for Global Policy

Opening Remarks

Dr. Edward LUCK, Special Adviser to the Secretary General on the Responsibility to Protect 

10:00–11:30             The Role of Regional and Sub-Regional Organizations in Implementing RtoP

Chair: Sapna Chhatpar CONSIDINE, Deputy Director, International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect

Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)

Emmanuel BOMBANDE, Executive Director, West Africa Network for Peacebuilding, Ghana

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

Dr. Pranee THIPARAT, Assistant Professor at the Department of International Relations, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand

European Union (EU)

Daniel FIOTT, Research Fellow, Madariaga- College of Europe Foundation, Belgium

Organization of American States (OAS) and Union of South American Nations (UNASUR)

Dr. Andrés SERBIN, Executive Director, Coordinadora Regional de Investigaciones Económicas y Sociales (CRIES), Argentina

African Union (AU)

Don DEYA, Executive Director, Pan African Lawyers Union, Tanzania

11:30-11:45             Coffee Break

11:45 – 1:15             Reflections on the application of RtoP to country cases

Keynote address: Kenneth ROTH, Human Rights Watch

 Chair: Dr. Monica SERRANO, Executive Director, Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect

Dr. Gilles Olakounlé YABI, West Africa Project Director, International Crisis Group, Senegal

Dismas NKUNDA, Co-Director, International Refugee Rights Initiative/Darfur Consortium, Uganda (TBC)

 Dr. James PISCATORI, Professor of International Relations and Head of School of Government and International Affairs, Durham University, United Kingdom

Closing Remarks

Dr. Werner PUSCHRA, Executive Director, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung New York

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Filed under CivSoc, Event, RtoP