Category Archives: Weekly Round-Up

#RtoPWeekly: 30 September – 4 October

Weekly

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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#RtoPWeekly 3-6 September

Weekly

This week in focus:

Member States Revisit Commitments to Atrocity Prevention
in the Second UNGA debate on RtoP
 

Hello and welcome back to the RtoP Weekly! A lot happened while we were on break, but we’re looking forward to diving back in and resuming our publication.

On 27 June, the UN General Assembly held its second formal debate on the Responsibility to Protect since 2009. Common themes of the debate included the importance of the Human Rights Council and Treaty Bodies in upholding the RtoP, the importance of accountability mechanisms such as the ICC, IIIM for Syria, among others, and support for UN Plan of Action on Combating Hate Speech. The ICRtoP produced an infographic of the debate, which can be found here.

Ahead of the Formal Debate on the RtoP, the ICRtoP hosted a CSO Roundtable with the UN Special Advisor on the Responsibility to Protect, Ms Karen Smith. This off-the-record event helped to facilitate the channels of communication between civil society and the UN Officeon the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect on the UN Secretary-General’s Annual Report on the RtoP. This year’s Report focused on “Lessons Learned for Prevention,” and looks at state-based approaches to prevention and early action. In this vein, the Report calls upon member states to see actions such as countering hate speech, including women in peace dialogues, and implementing methods of self-review and monitoring as activities that can prevent the future occurrence of atrocities. An ICRtoP summary as well as an infographic on the report are available.

***Please take note that our website is currently under construction. If you need assistance in accessing ICRtoP materials, please contact us at info@responsibilitytoprotect.org***


What to Watch:

Burundi: CoI Presentation Report (OHCHR)

The UN Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry (CoI) on Burundi released its 2019 report, in which they detail that the presented calm within the country is due to underlying state repression of rights, as seen through the government’s removal of foreign NGOs earlier this year. The Commission used the Framework of Analysis for Atrocity Crimes as part of its research methods, and in its press conference stated, “There is no better early warning than our risk analysis which should be carefully considered, if the often repeated commitments to prevention are to have any meaning.” Ahead of the 2020 elections the CoI’s findings continue to keep Burundi as a state at-risk for atrocities.


But Also Don’t Miss:

Cameroon: Separatist Leaders Appeal Conviction
Separatist leaders filed an appeal against the life sentences handed down to them via Military Tribunal last month, which raised serious concerns over rights violations and due process in the country.

Peacekeeping: Analyzing the Co-Evolution of the Responsibility to Protect and the Protection of Civilians in UN Peace Operations
The RtoP and Peacekeeping are closely linked and complementary – this article explores that normative relationship in practice.

Syria: At Least 98,000 Forcibly Disappeared Persons in Syria Since March 2011
Coalition member, Syrian Network for Human Rights, released several important reports this summer on arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances in Syria.

Syria: Syrians Deported by Lebanon Arrested at Home
Lebanon is forcibly returning Syrians and handing them over to state authorities, where several have been detained arbitrarily.

Venezuela: Joint NGO Q&A: Why a United Nations Inquiry Is Needed for Venezuela
11 National and international NGOs called on the UN Human Rights Council to form a Commission of Inquiry on Venezuela.


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#RtoPWeekly: 13-17 May

This week in focus:
Gender & Genocide and the Protection of Civilians

Working with the Global Justice Center, the ICRtoP will convene a panel discussion next Wednesday, 22 May, entitled “Gender and Genocide: Engendering analysis for better prevention, accountability, and protection,” as a side event to the UN Security Council Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Conflict.

The event looks to expand upon the Global Justice Center’s white paper, Beyond Killing: Gender, Genocide, and Obligations under International Law, released in December 2018, focusing on the unique ways women experience and are affected by genocidal violence. By bringing together experts from civil society, academia, and law, the discussion aims to raise awareness around the need for the inclusion of a gendered analysis to illuminate the multi-dimensional nature of atrocity crimes to prevent their occurrence, as a lack of gender-specificity in legal frameworks prevents the international community from effectively preventing and punishing atrocity crimes.

Full information on the event can be found here.

***Please note that we will be pausing RtoP Weekly publication for the time being. Thank you for your patience and understanding. We hope to be back in your inboxes soon!***


What to Watch:

Sudan: Sudan Talks Collapse Amid Clashes in Khartoum (New York Times)
Talks and negotiations over a transitional government in Sudan stalled on 16 May, in spite of earlier reports that both parties had agreed to a three-year transitional period. The situation deteriorated amidst the negotiations as state forced fired against protestors in an attempt to clear checkpoints in the city. Dialogues between military and civilian leaders in the days preceding seemed to be progressing, albeit slowly, over several rounds of negotiations and ongoing violence between security forces and protesters. Notably, prosecutors officially charged former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for “inciting and participating in” the killing of protesters in the mass demonstrations that led to the end of his regime last month.


But Also Don’t Miss:

Burma: UN Fact-Finding Mission Recommends Suspension of International Dealings with Myanmar’s Military
The head of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar urges the international community to end its support of the military following a tour of the country, citing a lack of accountability for actions against the Rohingya.

Cameroon: Hope for western Cameroon as Biya finally talks peace
After several high-profile events, President Biya is reportedly organizing a dialogue to address the conflict in the Anglophone regions.

Health Care in Conflict: Impunity Remains: 2018 Attacks on Health Care in 23 Countries in Conflict
The report notes increasing attacks on humanitarian workers and services in addition to providing recommendations for the UN, states, and other parties to a conflict.

Syria: Inside Syria’s Secret Torture Prisons: How Bashar al-Assad Crushed Dissent
The New York Times published an expose on detainment conditions under the Assad regime including details on torture and enforced disappearances.

Venezuela: Hunger for Justice: Crimes Against Humanity in Venezuela
Amnesty International’s new report on rights abuses under Nicolas Maduro’s regime documents systematic and widespread violations that may amount to crimes against humanity.

Venezuela: Venezuela peace talks taking place in Oslo: Norwegian media
Peace talks are reportedly taking place in Oslo, Norway between representatives of both Nicolas Maduro and Juan Guaido.

Yemen: Houthi withdrawal from Yemen ports going according to plan: UN
UN officials report the withdrawal of Houthi forces from Hodeidah is “going to plan.”



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Filed under Burma, Cameroon, Event, genocide, RtoP, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, Weekly Round-Up, Women, Yemen

#RtoPWeekly: 6-10 May

Weekly

This week in focus:
Illustrating the Plan of Action for Religious Leaders

Acknowledging the special role leaders of faith can play in preventing atrocities, the UN Office of the Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect published the “Plan of Action for Religious Leaders and Actors to Prevent the Incitement to Violence That Could Lead to Atrocity Crimes.” The 2017 report is the result of a series of consultations with leaders of faith from around the world, and provides recommendations to prevent violence, strengthen relationships between actors their communities, and build more peaceful and inclusive societies. Our infographic summary of the Plan of Action can be found through following the link!

What to Watch:

Cameroon: Routine Torture, Incommunicado Detention UN Security Council Should Condemn Abuses, Demand Reforms (Human Rights Watch)
Coalition Member Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported this week on its latest research in Cameroon, exposing torture and incommunicado detention by state authorities. HRW documented 26 cases of incommunicado detention and enforced disappearance and 14 cases of torture to coerce information or confessions from detainees. In light of these findings, the organization called for the UN Security Council (UNSC) to place the country on its agenda. This week, the United States, United Kingdom, Dominican Republic, and Germany announced an Arria-Formula meeting of the UNSC on the Crisis in Cameroon for next week.

Sudan: Protest Leader: Sudan Mediators Propose 2 Transition Councils (Voice of America)
This week the Sudanese military rejected a civilian majority rule in the transitional government, leading to continued protests in Khartoum. Mediators in the situation acknowledged a proposal from the Transitional Military Council (TMC) for a dual-council format, one civilian, one military, as the basis of structure in the transitional government. Military officials also announced their desire to have the new government’s law to be guided by Sharia principles, a proposal the Sudanese Professional Authority (SPA), a leading opposition group, had yet to respond to at the time of writing. In spite of peaceful protests in Khartoum, forces in Darfur continue to commit abuses, where violence remains high from both sides.

But Also Don’t Miss:

Benin: Shots fired as post-election violence grips Benin
Soldiers fired at protesters demonstrating against parliamentary election ballots that did not include opposition candidates, reportedly killing three.

Cote d’Ivoire: UN Review Should Press Government on Justice
The UN Human Rights Council begins its Universal Periodic Review of the country, which activists hope will result in the body pressuring the country to exclude perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity from amnesty.

The Gambia: UNDP Prioritises Supporting Gambia’s Stability
The United Nations Development Program announced it will continue to support stability in the country through its work addressing root causes such as poverty, strengthening institutions, and combating climate change.

Libya: Statement of ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, in relation to the escalation of violence in and around Tripoli, Libya
ICC Chief Prosecutor Bensouda briefed the UNSC on the situation in Libya this week. Her previous statement on the crisis can be found through the link above.

Middle East:  Persecution of Christians ‘coming close to genocide’ in Middle East – report
UK Foreign Secretary released a report alleging that the persecution of Christians in the Middle East may possibly amount to genocide.

South Sudan: South Sudan rivals agree to delay forming government
President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar agreed to extending the deadline to form a unity government by six months.

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#RtoP Weekly: 29 April -3 May

This week in focus:
Truth and Reconciliation in West Africa

To conclude Genocide Awareness month, the ICRtoP looks at how states address the atrocities and rights violations occurred. Using Truth and Reconciliation Commissions (TRCs), our new infographic highlights the transitional and restorative justice mechanisms in West Africa to investigate the violations committed during internal unrest, civil wars, and/or dictatorships. Seven West African countries set up TRCs, with the intent of ending impunity for perpetrators and recognizing the status of victims for the crimes committed. The ultimate goal is to heal the relationships between parties in order to avoid continued social and political grievances. Seeking the truth about the atrocities committed against populations has become an important part in rebuilding a society at the end of a regime or armed conflict. In that respect, TRCs are seen as taking part in the prevention of the re-occurrence of atrocities and conflict.
To learn more about this topic, the ICRtoP Infographic can be found here.
(image via Alliance for Peacebuilding)

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What to Watch:

 

Israel/Palestine: ‘Continuing absence’ of political solution to Israel-Palestine conflict ‘undermines and compounds’ UN efforts to end wholesale crisis  (UN News)

Israel will demolish more Palestinian homes after its High Court ordered the destruction of 60 residences in occupied East Jerusalem. Many feel that Israel’s policy has been increasingly aggressive in handing down demolition orders. The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacekeeping Affairs, Rosemary DiCarlo, said that without any change in approach there would only be more deterioration and radicalization on both sides, and noted the hope for a two-state solution in the Israel-Palestine conflict continues to fade as the threats of annexation rise.


Libya:  Libyan government forces reinforce positions in Tripoli  (Al-Jazeera)

Civilian death toll and military clashes between the Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Libyan National Army (LNA) continue to escalate in Libya. Forces loyal to the UN-recognized government are reinforcing and holding their positions in Tripoli, indicating a continuation of the conflict. Due to the proximity of detention centers located near the fighting, Human Rights Watch called on the European Union to urge Libyan parties to ensure the release and relocation to safety of all migrants. Additionally, videos and images shared on Facebook and YouTube show the desecration of the bodies of fighters and civilians that could possibly amount to war crimes by LNA fighters.


Sudan: African Union gives Sudan military further 60 days to cede power (Al-Jazeera)

Protests continued outside of Sudanese military headquarters, as the African Union (AU) deadline to transition to a civilian lead government approaches. In addition to calling for a civilian-lead transitional government, protesters alleged state forces were attempting to break up the protests. On Thursday, the AU announced an extension to the military, allowing for 60 additional days to complete a transition to a civilian government, saying “”its conviction that a military-led transition in the Sudan will be totally unacceptable and contrary to the will and legitimate aspirations, to democratic institutions and processes, as well as respect for human rights and freedoms of the Sudanese people.” A consensus on the role of the military, which is laden with Bashir’s appointees and allies, poses a challenge in establishing a transitional government, with a many demanding their removal from power.


Venezuela: Juan Guaido declares ‘final phase’ of operation to topple Venezuela’s Maduro (CNN)
This week, Juan Guaidó claimed he had the support of the armed forces and called for nationwide protests as the final phase of “operation freedom.” Between 30 April and 1 May, security forces loyal to Nicolas Maduro used rubber bullets, tear gas, and live ammunition to crack down on protesters demanding his resignation. At the time of writing, protestors failed to unseat Maduro, and Guaidó’s movement has come into question. Maduro declared a “weekend of dialogue” to allow critique of the government and seek solutions, but experts note previous similar discussions without any substantial change.


But Also Don’t Miss:

Cameroon: Human Rights Watch Denied Entry – Government Blocks Scrutiny as Abuses Grow
The country denied access to a Human Rights Watch researcher, which the organization calls an attempt to curb reports on state security forces.

Iraq:  Yezidi spiritual council revokes statement, will not accept children of ISIS rape victims
The Yazidi Supreme Spiritual Council said it will allow all survivors of ISIS attacks to return to their communities in Iraq, but still will not recognize children born from rape by ISIS members.

Latin America: Global Network of R2P Focal Points
The Organization of American States joined the Global Network of R2P Focal Points, as its second regional organization.

South Sudan: Critics Slam Multimillion-dollar Deal Between South Sudan, US-based Lobbying Firm
The government of South Sudan hired US-based lobbying firm, Gainful Solutions, to prevent the establishment of a hybrid court mechanism to try individuals for war crimes.


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#RtoP Weekly: 15 – 17 April

Weekly

This week in focus:
Genocide Today: The Yazidis (2014- present)

Continuing to recognize Genocide Awareness Month, the ICRtoP turns its attention to ongoing atrocities, taking a look at the genocide of the Yazidi people at the hands of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The crimes committed against the Yazidi people is one portion of continuing and complex crisis in Iraq and Syria, and this infographic not only chronicles these events, but also highlights the ongoing plight of the Yazidis and the resulting accountability efforts.

The ICRtoP infographic can be found here.

***Please note that there will be no RtoP Weekly next week as our offices will be closed over the Easter Holiday. We will resume publication in May.***

(image via EuroNews)

Weekly Yazidi.jpg


What to Watch:

Burma: Myanmar’s 2020 Elections and Conflict Dynamics (United States Institute of Peace)
Elections for many of Burma’s legislative bodies are scheduled for late 2020, coinciding with the 21st Century Panglong peace process, and the potential repatriation of Rohingya refugees. The United States Institute for Peace (USIP) outlines the possibility for violence caused by the convergence of these events including divisive campaigning, populist rhetoric, and misinformation that will increase tensions and undermine support for the peace process. The USIP report also outlines opportunities for the international community and Burmese government to take in order mitigate the risk of conflict leading up to elections.

International Criminal Court (ICC): Afghanistan: ICC refuses to authorize investigation, caving into USA threats  (Amnesty International)
The ICC announced it will not investigate crimes committed by US forces in Afghanistan. Many see the decision as an abandonment of victims’ rights, and note that crimes have been committed in the country with impunity. Amnesty further argues the Court has a moral and legal duty to reach out to the victims of crimes in the country and explain its decision.

Libya: Arab Pacifists Demand an End to Violence in Libya (Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict – GPPAC)
In a statement issued this past weekend, the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC), expressed its concerns over the recent confrontations in the country, calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities and an end to the use of child soldiers in the conflict. GPPAC also called on the UN and the Security Council to do all they can to prevent conflict through nonviolent means, and promote a national dialogue for peace and democracy.  At the same time, the Arab League Envoy on Libya criticized foreign nations’ involvement in the dispute, saying they are fueling the conflict and escalating violence. They called on warring parties in Libya to cease hostilities and return to the negotiating table.

Sudan: AU warns Sudan military, protesters make demands (Africa News)
The Sudanese military continues to remain in power after it removed al-Bashir from office last week. Though the military stated its intention to create a civilian government, protests outside its headquarters continue. The African Union (AU) issued a statement giving state forces 15 days to transfer power to a civilian government, or face suspension in the regional organization. Many hope the involvement of the AU and its warnings lead to a peaceful transfer of power.


But Also Don’t Miss:

International Criminal Court: All roads to global justice lead to the Rome Statute 
In an Op-Ed, Eric Paulson argues that the International Criminal Court was set up to end impunity for mass atrocity crimes, punish perpetrators, and prevent future occurrences, and that misconceptions over the ICC’s mandate threatens justice worldwide.

Israel/Palestine: Palestinian state likely not in US proposed peace plan: Report
The United States-proposed peace plan for Israel and Palestine reportedly contains practical improvements for the lives of Palestinians, but likely excludes the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state.

Qatar: Doha conference seeks to address impunity for war crimes
Qatar is hosting an international conference in Doha, seeking to address impunity and find solutions in order to hold individuals and states accountable for war crimes and human rights violations.

Venezuela: First Red Cross aid delivery lands in crisis-torn Venezuela
The first International Committee of the Red Cross aid shipment arrived in Venezuela, marking a “tacit recognition” from Nicolas Maduro that a humanitarian crisis exists in the country.

Yemen: Plan for troop pullback ‘now accepted’ by rival forces around key Yemen port, but fighting intensifying elsewhere, Security Council warned
The United Nations Special Envoy to Yemen said pro-government forces and Houthi rebels agreed to withdraw troops from the front lines in and around Hodeidah, though fighting is intensifying elsewhere in the country.


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#RtoP Weekly: 8 – 12 April

Weekly

This week in focus:
Kwibuka 25 : Remembering the Rwandan Genocide

7 April marked the 25th Anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide. Over a 100-day period, nearly 800,000 Rwandans died in the genocide, making it the quickest of the 20th century. In spite of warning signs of burgeoning conflict, the international community failed to take timely and decisive action to prevent these atrocities. Each year, Rwandans commemorate the events, known as “Kwibuka.” The Kinyarwanda word means, “to remember,” taking on a significant meaning in light of the major anniversary this year. Kwibuka 25 adopted a theme of “to remember, unite, renew,” which perhaps encapsulates the complexities of post-conflict societies in one of the simplest ways. By learning from their past and working through truth and reconciliation measures, the Rwandan people continue towards building an inclusive society and preventing the recurrence of these tragic events.
The ICRtoP statement on the 25th Anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide can be found here.

(image via the BBC)

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What to Watch:

China: The Persecution of the Uighurs and Potential Crimes Against Humanity in China (Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect)

Coalition Steering Group member, Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect and Coalition member the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect released a joint report detailing China’s treatment of its Turkic Muslim population, and its response to growing international pressure. The government continues to employ a policy of arbitrary detention, religious restrictions, and extensive surveillance against the Uighurs, justifying the decision as one to counter extremism. The treatment of ethnic Uighurs and other Turkic Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang province resulted in systemic human rights abuses. The report finds government actions may amount to crimes against humanity, and recommends solutions to end rights violations.


Israel: Israel Election Live Updates: As Gantz Concedes, Netanyahu Set for Victory  (New York Times)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won fourth consecutive term in this week’s election. Four right-wing and religious parties publicly pledged to support him in his bid to form the next governing coalition, raising concerns over a previous declaration, where he promised to annex Israeli occupied territories in West Bank. Many view his victory as a closing door for a peaceful settlement in the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the creation of a Palestinian state. Palestinian leaders said the election results endorsed an indefinite occupation of the West Bank, human rights abuses, and the growing encroachment on Palestinian lands
.


Libya:
Libya: Attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure may amount to war crimes, Bachelet warns (ReliefWeb)

Last week, leader of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Khalifa Haftar, launched an assault on Tripoli, causing an escalation in tensions and violence with the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA). Coalition member Human Rights Watch said the recent threats of confrontation raise atrocity concerns, noting the militias have history of abuses against civilians. United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, stated the attacks taking place against civilians and civilian infrastructures may amount to war crimes, urging all parties to the conflict to make every effort to protect civilian lives. Due to the renewed violence, the United Nations decided to postpone upcoming reconciliation dialogues that were expected to lead to democratic elections, saying the current situation make it impossible to hold productive talks.

Sudan:
Omar Hassan al-Bashir Is Removed as Sudan’s President (New York Times)

Protests outside of the military’s headquarters in Khartoum, Sudan, began last weekend, with the Sudanese people demanding the resignation of President al-Bashir. Over the course of several days, the protests grew, along with concern from the international community over the use of force against civilians by the military and lack of a credible transition plan. Countries like Norway, the UK, and the US urged action to prevent further instability. On Thursday, military actors arrested al-Bashir, removing him from power. In addition to placing al-Bashir under house arrest, military leaders dissolved the government and suspending the constitution, and enacted a three-month state of emergency. It was also announced that there would be a two-year transition period lead by the military, causing concerns about the future respect for human rights, protection of civilians, and rule of law in the country. Additionally, it remains unclear whether al-Bashir will be handed over to the International Criminal Court, where he faces charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide for the conflict in Darfur.

 

But Also Don’t Miss:

Burma: UN ‘disturbed’ over attacks against civilians in Rakhine
The UN Human Rights Office condemned Burmese state forces for attacking civilians, calling on both the military and Arakan Army to end hostilities and protect civilians.

Cameroon: Government Forces Attack Village
Government forces attacked a village in the Anglophone region, with Human Rights Watch warning that similar events could occur if forces are not held accountable.

Nigeria: Video Exposes Beatings by Nigerian Security Forces
Human Rights Watch called for an end to impunity and the investigation of Nigerian authorities for torture and other abuses after a video of security forces whipping a group of 15 men surfaced.

Mali: UN Urges International Community to Invest in Mali’s Humanitarian Needs
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs warns that the security situation will continue to deteriorate without sustained and significant humanitarian aid.

Syria: Syrian Network for Human Rights: 221 chemical attacks in Syria since 2012
A reported 221 chemical attacks took place in Syria since December 2012, killing at least 1,461 civilians, a majority of which, the Syrian Network for Human Rights attributes to the Assad regime.

Venezuela: Maduro says Venezuela ready to receive international aid
After meeting with the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Nicolas Maduro announced Venezuela is ready to receive humanitarian aid.

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#RtoP Weekly: 01 – 05 April

Weekly

This week in focus:
Recognizing Genocide Awareness Month

Recognizing Genocide Awareness Month, the ICRtoP team will mark the occasion with a series of infographics. With the first week of Genocide Awareness Month, we are taking a look at the first modern genocide of the 20th century: the Armenian Genocide.

The Armenians are an ethnic group traditionally residing in the area between the Southern Caucuses into Eastern Anatolia, Turkey. Prior to World War I (WWI), Armenians were a sizeable ethnic and religious minority living within the Ottoman Empire. Practicing a branch of Orthodox Christianity, the Armenian’s beliefs set them apart from the Empire’s predominantly Turkic Muslim ruling class. Despite these differences, the Armenians lived relatively peacefully within the Empire for much of its existence.

In 1908, the Young Turks Revolution established a constitutional government in the Ottoman Empire. Though the Young Turks’ politics were progressive, the party held European ethnic nationalist views. Upon the outbreak of WWI the state feared that Armenians would side with Russia, sharing similar religious views. From 1915 to 1918, the Ottoman government employed a systematic wave of deportations and executions. In 1915, the state disarmed and eventually executed Armenian troops serving in the Empire, arrested and jailed the Armenian intelligentsia of Istanbul who were transferred to labor battalions, and deported Armenian communities to concentration camps in Ottoman Syria.

By the end of WWI, the Armenian population of the Empire went from 2 million, to an estimated 400,000. While exact numbers are difficult to determine, experts estimate between 600,000 and 1.5 million Armenians lost their lives. Today, the genocide is official remembered on 24 April, the anniversary of the arrest of the Armenian intelligentsia, which is considered the official beginning of the atrocities.

Please click here for the infographic.

(Image via the ICC)

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What to Watch:

Mali: Mali warns any cuts in UN force will strengthen militants (The Washington Post)
The future of MINUSMA, the UN Peacekeeping mission in Mali, has come into question ahead of its June renewal date. The US looks for a reduction in the mission, in spite of the Security Council approving a request by France to discuss its revamping. Mali’s Prime Minister urged the UNSC to maintain the MINUSMA peacekeeping mission at its current strength, saying any reduction in force may endanger the already fragile peace process. The government’s work to implement the Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration process has yet to improve the nation’s stability, adding that recent militia violence may significantly undermine the gains made with the assistance of MINUSMA.

Sudan: Bashir, opposition opt for negotiations (The East African)
Sudanese President al-Bashir and opposition forces agreed to negotiate a deal for a transitional government, thought it comes with its pros and cons. In agreeing to create a transitional government, President Bashir conceded his plans to change the constitution and run for a third term. However, the elections, slated for 2020, are now in doubt, based on the terms of the agreement or the processes’ failure. Experts are concerned about rivaling factions reaching a consensus given the wide range of views the parties and the army hold.


But Also Don’t Miss:

Burma: Mr. Nicholas Koumjian of the United States of America – Head of the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has named Nicholas Koumjian as head of the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar. The mechanism will collect evidence of abuses and atrocities committed against the Rohingya.

Cameroon: Half a million civilians displaced in Cameroon skirmishes
Humanitarian and UN agencies report roughly half a million civilians from the Anglophone region are internally displaced, or seeking refuge in Nigeria.

Libya: African Union to host Libya ‘reconciliation’ conference
The African Union aims to unite Libyan political rivals through reconciliation and discussing the country’s future, which are critical in creating a lasting accord and stability in the country.

Nigeria: Nigeria Struggles with Security Sector Reform
Corruption and political misuse of Nigeria’s security sector contributes to a lack of trust and accountability in the country.

Philippines: Philippine Supreme Court Orders Release of Evidence from Duterte’s Drug War
The Philippine Supreme Court has ordered police to release documents related to killings in President Durterte’s war on drugs, which human rights groups hope will help end impunity.

Venezuela: UN Should Lead Full-Scale Emergency Response
A joint John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Human Rights Watch report on the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela concluded that the UN should lead a full humanitarian emergency response to deliver life-saving aid.

Yemen: Exclusive: Yemeni child soldiers recruited by Saudi-UAE coalition
Al-Jazeera obtained exclusive footage proving the use of child soldiers in recruitment camps of the Saudi-United Arab Emirate led coalition in Yemen.


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#RtoP Weekly: 25 – 29 March

Weekly

This week in focus:
Ethnic tensions climbing in Mali

Last weekend, a massacre in the village of Ogossagou, central Mali left more than 160 dead and dozens more wounded. Tensions between the Fulani herding community and local farmers have grown over the past several months with, “violence across communal lines and by so-called ‘self-defense groups’ apparently attempting to root out violent extremist groups”, said Ravina Shamdasani, a spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

In response to the attack, the UN dispatched a team comprised of human rights specialists, child protection experts, and members of MINUSMA (UN Peacekeeping’s Operation in Mali) to investigate the events surrounding the killings, and offered to help to “bring the perpetrators to justice in order to break the circle of impunity” in the ongoing ethnic conflict. The International Criminal Court’s Chief Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, also announced that the Court would also send a delegation, as the crimes could possibly fall under its jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, humanitarian organizations like the International Committee of the Red Cross, call for restraint from actors on both sides, as there is fear that further violence will worsen the already fragile security situation. Over the past several years, Mali has been on the edge of instability and conflict, facing religious and ethnic conflicts, as well as infiltration and growth of extremist groups. Regional actors, such as Adama Gaye, West African analyst and former director of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) regional bloc, are skeptical of the country’s ability to protect its populations, saying “it [the state] is no longer there; there is no state protection to ensure safety and its presence in those areas.”

“People have concluded that there is even a risk of genocide – they are using the word genocide regarding the Fulanis … it’s a very serious situation,” said Gaye. It is a reminder to the international community of the importance of its obligations under the RtoP norm, and that the crisis in Mali merits more international attention in order to prevent atrocities.

 

(image via AFP)

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What to Watch:

Israel/Gaza: Gaza Rocket Sets Off Daylong Battle Between Hamas and Israel (New York Times)
On Monday 25 April, a rocket allegedly launched from Gaza by the Hamas struck a home in central Israel, wounding seven people. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in visit to the United States, declared his government would respond forcefully to the attack. Later this day, Israeli warplanes struck back at Hamas targets, and both sides exchanged fire along the border. The strikes tapered off in the evening after a ceasefire was announced, avoiding an escalation in the conflict.


Yemen: Yemen: Four years on, fears of further violations with no end in sight to brutal conflict (Amnesty International)
Four years after the beginning of the Yemeni war, Amnesty International says it has documented violations amounting to war crimes by all parties to the conflict. In order to protect the civilian population, the organization is urging for the suspension of all arms transfer to the Saudi and UAE-led coalition, especially from France, the UK and the US. 25 NGOs also called on Germany to extend its moratorium on arms sales to Saudi Arabia, asking the country use its current Presidency in the UN Security Council to work toward a better protection of the rights of civilians, and ensure accountability for all parties responsible for violations of international law.


On Wednesday 27 April, the Saudi-led coalition conducted another airstrike on a hospital, reportedly killing seven civilians. The coalition has faced repeated criticism for its targeting of hospitals and civilians possibly amounting to war crimes. The UK government is also currently investigating suggestions that British Special Forces witnessed war crimes by the coalition, along with the training of child soldiers.


But Also Don’t Miss:

Burma: UN resolution slams Myanmar over rights violations

The United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution for Burmese authorities to end its violations of international law, with particular reference to sexual and gender-based violence.

Cameroon: New Attacks on Civilians By Troops, Separatists

Human Rights Watch documented the indiscriminate use of force against civilians, including arson, rape, kidnapping, and 170 deaths by state and armed force over the past six months.


Latin America: Costa Rica: Authorities must guarantee the human rights of those people fleeing the crisis in Nicaragua

Amnesty International has called on the international community to support Costa Rica’s efforts to receive and protect people fleeing the human rights crisis in Nicaragua. Nearly 42,000 refugees are already in the country.


Sudan: Bar or Arrest Sudan’s al-Bashir: ICC Members Should Not Allow Fugitives Unrestricted Movement

Ahead of the Arab League meeting in Tunisia, the international community continues to urge the country to refuse entry to or arrest Sudanese President al-Bashir.


Syria:
SDF calls for creation of international court to prosecute ISIS members in Syria

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) called on the international community to establish an international court in northeast Syria in order to prosecute ISIS members for their alleged crimes.


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Call for Internship Applications
The ICRtoP Secretariat in New York City is accepting internship applications for Summer 2019. Interested parties should submit their application before Monday, 1 April, and can find more information by clicking here.

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#RtoP Weekly: 18 – 22 March

Weekly

This week in focus:
The Burmese Military, Peace, Reconciliation, and Reform

The Burmese military’s role in the ongoing discussions around peace, accountability, and its role in the country’s politics pose an interesting challenge in the way forward. On Monday, 18 March, military officials announced the establishment of an internal court to investigate and prosecute its members for actions against the Rohingya. The stated goal of the court is to “scrutinize and confirm” rights violations committed against the Rohingya, in addition to responding to the various accounts of mass killings, rape, and forced displacement organizations and international bodies such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the United Nations reported. Many experts, however, still see the measure as one of “bad faith,” and is an attempt to distract and ward off additional international pressure and involvement in internal affairs, with Amnesty International’s Nicholas Bequelin alleging that the idea of the Tatmadaw investigating itself and enacting accountability measures is “dangerous and delusional.”

The military’s involvement in the country’s government in finding a way forward is another piece of the puzzle, proving to be a challenge in peace negotiations and government reform. Composed of various minority and ethnic groups, the peace and reconciliation discussions in Burma must accommodate multiple perspectives and points of view, extending the process. One particular sticking point is the stronghold the military holds in politics and government with a set proportion of representation that allows it to impose its power by being able to reject measures it opposes, as seen this past week in discussions over constitutional reform.

By being able to leverage its power and influence over politics and government, and see impunity for the mass atrocities committed, the Burmese military’s lack of cooperation threatens peace and stability in the country without the UN, its member states, and other influential actors working to address the root causes of conflict and find pathways forward to prevent the recurrence of rights violations against the country’s populations.

(Photo via Burma Link)

Weekly Burma


What to Watch:

Central African Republic:  Just one month in, optimism around CAR’s peace deal is fading (Mail & Guardian)
The latest Central African Republic (CAR) peace agreement is in peril, with fighting between armed groups increasing over the past month. Leaders of the various armed groups see impunity for their actions due to a lack of judicial mechanisms in the country, but also fail to recognize their own roles and responsibilities in the conflict, with many attesting that “if civilians suffered, then we should talk about reconciliation, not justice. Justice will only lead to more problems,” wanting amnesty for those involved. The lack of accountability measures risks the continuance of violence in the conflict. This past week, several signatories withdrew their participation in the peace agreement, resulting in additional dialogues in Addis Ababa this week to save the peace deal.

Philippines: Philippines quits International Criminal Court over inquiry into Duterte’s drug war (France24)
In 2018, the International Criminal Court (ICC) launched a preliminary examination of President Duterte’s drug crackdown and accusations of extrajudicial killings. As of 17 March, the Philippines officially withdrew as a State party to the ICC. In spite of the country’s withdrawal, the Court announced its intention to continue its examination, as it retains jurisdiction on matters already under consideration. Duterte’s spokesperson argued the Philippines never became a State Party to the Rome Statute, and issued a statement attesting that “the tribunal is non-existent and its actions [are] a futile exercise.”


But Also Don’t Miss:

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Radovan Karadžić war crimes sentence increased to life in prison
The Appeals Chamber of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals upheld the charges of genocide against Radovan Karadzic, sentencing him to life in prison for his role in the Srebrenica massacre.

Cameroon: North West, South West: Women Ready to Contribute to Peace Initiatives
Women from the North-West, South-West Women’s Task Force met with state officials to lobby for inclusive peace dialogues.

Nigeria: ‘Impunity remains widespread at all levels of government in Nigeria’…US human rights report
The US State Department’s Country Report on Human Rights accused the Nigerian government of failing to investigate human rights violations appropriately, including extrajudicial killings, torture, and forced disappearances.

South America: As Venezuela crisis deepens, U.S. sharpens focus on Colombia rebel threat
ELN and FARC rebels from Colombia are exploiting the instability in Venezuela to expand their drug trade and operate with impunity, causing concern over peace and security situation in the region.

Sub-Saharan Africa: The Great Lakes can’t afford more instability
ISS Africa explores the need for a new regional approach to peace and stability in the Great Lakes region in order to prevent any escalation in conflict.

United States: US Threatens International Criminal Court: Visa Bans on ICC Staff
In its latest rebuke of the International Criminal Court, the US announced a travel ban on members of the Court involved in investigations against its citizens.

United States/Somalia: USA/Somalia: Shroud of secrecy around civilian deaths masks possible war crimes
Amnesty International reports increasing drone strikes and resulting civilian deaths possibly amounting to war crimes in Somalia, calling for an impartial investigation into the attacks.


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Call for Internship Applications
The ICRtoP Secretariat in New York City is now accepting internship applications for Summer 2019. Interested parties can find more information by following the link.

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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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