26 August 2010
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1. UN News–Security Council condemns mass rape in DR Congo
2. New York Times –U.N. Knew of Rebels in Area of Congo Rapes
1. Sri Lanka’s disturbing actions met by ‘deafening global silence’
1. International Crisis Group—The Pogroms in Kyrgyzstan
1. Global Centre for R2P—The Responsibility to Protect and Kenya: Past Successes and Current Challenges
2. Global Centre for R2P—Upholding the Responsibility to Protect in Burma/Myanmar
1. Boston College: Humanitarian Intervention and the “Responsibility to Protect" (16 September)
2. Danish Institute for International Studies: What is the Responsibility to Protect? (17 September)
3. World Affairs Council of America: Is There a Responsibility to Protect? (4 November)
4. Oxfam Australia: Early warning for Protection: Technologies and Practice for the Prevention of Mass Atrocity Crimes (3-4 November)
5. The Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights (ECI) - The International Criminal Court and the Responsibility to Protect Synergies and Tensions (3-4 December)
At least 154 civilians were raped in 13 villages along a 21-kilometre stretch of road in North Kivu province’s Banamukira territory between 30 July and 2 August despite the presence of peacekeepers 20 miles from the village, with the attackers looting homes, blocking roads and preventing villagers from reaching outside communications and help. UN Secretary-General has addressed the Security Council this week and informed that his Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Margot Wallström would coordinate the UN response and follow-up on the incident. Assistant Secretary-General Atul Khare of UN DPKO was sent to gather facts on the recent violence with Roger Meece, his Special Representative in the country. This last wave of violence has spurred urgent calls to stop the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war, which has become endemic in the DRC. See Harvard Initiative and Oxfam’s April 2010 report on sexual violence in Eastern DRC “Now the world is without me”.
1. Security Council condemns mass rape in DR Congo
26 August 2010
Members of the Security Council today voiced outrage at the recent mass rape of civilians by members of armed groups in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and repeated their demand that parties to the conflict there cease all forms of sexual violence and other human rights violations.
In a statement read out to the press by Ambassador Vitaly Churkin of Russia, which holds the Council’s rotating presidency for August, the 15-member body emphasized that the DRC Government must continue to pursue its efforts to fight impunity, and urged it to swiftly investigate the latest attacks and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice.
At least 154 civilians were raped in 13 villages along a 21-kilometre stretch of road in North Kivu province’s Banamukira territory between 30 July and 2 August, with the attackers blocking the road and preventing the villagers from reaching outside communications. Many homes were also looted.
The atrocities have been blamed on the Mai-Mai militia and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a group of ethnic Hutu fighters linked to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
Members of the Council welcomed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s decision to send Assistant Secretary-General Atul Khare of the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) to the DRC to gather facts on the attack.
Mr. Khare will consult with relevant national authorities, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the DRC and UN personnel on the ground to ascertain the facts and circumstances surrounding the gang rapes and to assess what more could be done to ensure more effective protection of civilians.
The Council members also welcomed the Secretary-General’s instruction to his Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Margot Wallström, to coordinate the UN response and follow-up on the incident. They demanded that all possible steps be taken to prevent such atrocities in future.
The outgoing Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, John Holmes, also deplored the attack. (…)
See full article.
See the statement by UNICEF Executive Director, Anthony Lake, on sexual violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo
2. U.N. Knew of Rebels in Area of Congo Rapes
New York Times
25 August 2010
The United Nations knew Rwandan rebels were occupying villages in eastern Congo at the time the rebels raped nearly 200 women there, United Nations and aid officers said Wednesday, raising questions about why peacekeepers failed to move to protect villagers.
Between July 30 and Aug. 3, hundreds of soldiers from two rebel groups took over the villages, raping at least 179 women. Many of the attacks were gang rapes by two to six men. The humanitarian group that documented the rapes, International Medical Corps, said that it first notified the United Nations of the attacks on Aug. 6. The United Nations claims the group told it about the rapes on Aug. 12 for the first time. The U.N. made its first public comments on the rapes Sunday. (…)
According to the officers, an e-mail alert from the United Nations Department of Safety and Security was sent to United Nations staff members on July 30, the day the rapes began. The message warned them to stay away from the area — part of Walikale, in the North Kivu Province of Congo — because it had been taken over by rebels. (…)
The officer said that the alert did not mention rape. On Wednesday, the top United Nations official in Congo said that the rebel activity reported on July 31 was not out of the ordinary. “There was no particular suggestion of an attack, much less the kind of events like the mass rape,” said the official, Roger Meece, speaking to reporters in New York by video teleconference from Goma.
Even so, a United Nations official based in Kinshasa, the Congolese capital, said that such an alert would almost certainly have been shared with peacekeepers and should have prompted them to try to protect the villagers.
The United Nations keeps a forward peacekeeping base nearby, for better communication with villagers, and the Congolese military has a presence in the area. It had sent a patrol down the main road at the time to remove a roadblock set up by other rebels, Mr. Meece said. (…)
Mr. Meece said that a United Nations patrol had passed through a couple of the villages where the rapes were taking place — once while at least some rebels remained in the area and once after they were gone — but that the villagers never said anything about the horrific sexual assaults. The first word came via humanitarian workers nearly two weeks after the rapes occurred, he said.
The presence of the patrol during the time of the attacks meshes with reports from the area. A United Nations spokesman, Madnodje Mounoubai, said humanitarian organizations alerted the United Nations of the attacks a week after the rebels left the villages, on Aug. 12. The United Nations then organized a team for fact-finding, security and aid. (…)
Read full story
1.Sri Lanka’s disturbing actions met by ‘deafening global silence’
3 August 2010
The Sri Lankan government’s clampdown on domestic critics and its disdain for human rights deserves a far tougher response according to The Elders. While welcoming the end of the decades-long civil war, the Elders say that meaningful progress on reconciliation in Sri Lanka is still desperately needed. They describe the international response to Sri Lanka’s worrying approach to human rights, good governance and accountability as a ‘deafening global silence’ that may encourage other states to act in a similar way. (…)
Only the European Union has taken any direct action by suspending Sri Lanka’s preferential trading access (GSP Plus scheme) for its failure to respect its international human rights obligations.
Among recent events that most concern the Elders are
The Elders urge the international community and especially China, India, Japan and the United States to insist that the government of Sri Lanka takes the following actions:
Click here to read full story.
1.The Pogroms in Kyrgyzstan
International Crisis Group
23 August 2010
The latest brief by the International Crisis group refers to mass indiscriminate killings and rapes which took place in Kyrgyzstan on the basis of ethnicity during the month of June 2010. Following previous calls to the international community to assist the Kyrgyz government to stop crimes and prevent them from reoccurring, the following report exposes that tension in the country remains high in the south and if unaddressed could potentially lead to a renewed explosion of violence.
During the crisis, civil society spoke out on the evident failure of the government to protect its population from ethnic violence and avert the humanitarian crisis that ensued. See our letter to the Security Council and previous reports from Human Rights Watch and International Crisis Group.
Excerpts from Executive Summary:
An explosion of violence, destruction and looting in southern Kyrgyzstan on 11-14 June 2010 killed many hundreds of people, mostly Uzbeks, destroyed over 2000 buildings, mostly homes, and deepened the gulf between the country’s ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks. It was further proof of the near total ineffectiveness of the provisional government that overthrew President Kurmanbek Bakiyev in April 2010, and is now trying to guide the country to general elections in October. Given the government’s slowness to address the causes and consequences of the violence, the danger of another explosion is high. (…)
The situation throughout the country remains tense. In the south, however, it is explosive. The government tries to maintain a facade that the situation is returning to normal. In fact the Osh authorities are pursuing a punitive anti- Uzbek policy that could well trigger more violence – and in the view of many observers, Kyrgyz and international, may be intended to do just that. Moderate ethnic Kyrgyz are aggrieved at sweeping foreign allegations that have made them the villains of the crisis. Meanwhile, there is already talk within the Uzbek areas of Osh – largely secular and middle class, a long way from the Islamists’ core constituency in the south – of the welcome that the jihadi guerrillas would receive if they stepped up their activities in the south. The conversations are so far restricted to a tiny segment of the Uzbek community. Without prompt, genuine and exhaustive measures to address the damage done by the pogroms, however, the country risks, sooner or later, another round of terrible violence.
To the Government of Kyrgyzstan:
To the International Community:
To the Members of the UN Security Council, in particular the U.S. and Russia:
Click here to download full report
1. The Responsibility to Protect and Kenya: Past Successes and Current Challenges
Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
13 August 2010
Earlier this month, almost 70 percent of the voting population in Kenya approved a new constitution, addressing corruption, political patronage, land grabbing and tribalism. The referendum occurred peacefully, in contrast to the weeks of social unrest, killings and violent demonstrations that resulted from the 2007 presidential elections. In the following report, the Global Centre for R2P analyses the 2007 response by the international community, made of non-coercive tools such as mediation and regionally driven, as an example of reaction under the R2P framework. It concludes that R2P remains relevant as Kenya approaches the 2012 election, as the risk of renewed ethnic violence remains a reality.
The passing of the 4 August constitutional referendum in Kenya is a promising sign in the broader context of efforts to prevent atrocities and uphold the responsibility to protect (R2P). The peaceful referendum sharply contrasts with the wave of violence that erupted in the wake of the disputed December 2007 presidential election, when within hours of the announcement of the results violence broke out. Less than two months later 1,133 Kenyans had been murdered, unknown numbers raped, and over 500,000 forcibly driven from their homes. The perpetrators included individuals, militias and the police with victims often targeted on the basis of their ethnicity and corresponding perceived support for a particular presidential candidate.
International actors responded swiftly to crimes that appeared to rise to the level of crimes against humanity, crimes that states committed themselves to protect populations from in adopting R2P at the 2005 World Summit. This response, consisting primarily of an African Union (AU) led mediation process but also supported by the UN, Kenya’s neighbors, key donors, and civil society, helped stem the tide of violence. Human Rights Watch and others referred to the response as “a model of diplomatic action under the responsibility to protect.”
As the country moves towards elections in 2012, R2P remains relevant as the risk of reoccurrence of atrocities is present. The AU, UN and key states, must work with, and urge, the government to uphold its responsibility to protect. While implementing the reforms agreed to in the groundbreaking referendum will be crucial, as many are intended to address the underlying causes of violence, this alone will not be sufficient. Additional strategies to prevent atrocities and address protection gaps, including through the creation of contingency response plans to halt atrocities should they re-occur, will need to be developed (…)
Click here to read full policy brief
2. Upholding the Responsibility to Protect in Burma/Myanmar
Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
16 August 2010
The government of Burma's systematic commission of violations such as forced labor, forced displacement, rape of ethnic minority women and recruitment of child soldiers are a few of the many crimes that fit within the four crimes stipulated under the Responsibility to Protect. While many States, organization and civil society efforts have denounced the junta, the situation remains dire. In light of the upcoming elections in November, the latest report from the Global Centre for R2P (see its past 4 March 2010 report on Burma/Myanmar) calls on the UN, ASEAN and key actors such as China and the US must in ‘keeping with their own responsibility to protect’, to place real pressure on the Burmese government to take action to prevent and halt mass atrocities.
The situation in Burma/Myanmar remains grave. With elections scheduled for 7 November 2010 international attention on the country has increased. Such attention, and any policy action taken, must focus not only on the goal of democratic transition, and concerns about the regimes nuclear collaboration with North Korea, but also on the plight of Burma’s ethnic minorities who continue to suffer atrocities at the hands of the government. These atrocities may rise to the level of crimes against humanity, war crimes and ethnic cleansing – crimes states committed themselves to protect populations from at the 2005 World Summit, as described in the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect policy brief dated 4 March 2010, “Applying the Responsibility to Protect to Burma/Myanmar.”
International actors have a responsibility to protect Burma’s ethnic minorities from atrocities – atrocities that are often overshadowed by the attention focused on the pro-democracy movement. This brief assesses the current risk of atrocities and identifies measures that can be used to aid in preventing and halting these atrocities. The brief argues that pressure must be placed on the Burmese government to cease the commission of crimes and avoid the resort to violence against groups with which it currently has ceasefires. (…)
Click here to read full policy brief
1. Humanitarian Intervention and the “Responsibility to Protect”
The Boston College
16 September 2010
What is the world to do when a particular government cannot, or will not, stop large-scale violence and human rights abuses within its borders? What if the state itself is the source of this violence? For the past twenty years "humanitarian intervention" has been the key concept in the debate over international military action to stop such violence within a state. But a new concept called "the responsibility to protect" is gaining ground in the world community, seeking to reframe the debate on state sovereignty and the warrants for military intervention. Join our panel of distinguished scholars as they consider the implications of the "R2P" paradigm for U.S. foreign policy and the international community.
Pannelists will be: David Hollenbach, S.J., Boston College; Mahmood Mamdani, Columbia University; and Alan Wolfe, Boston College. Click here for more information
2. What is the Responsibility to Protect?
Danish Institute for International Studies
17 September 2010
Main Auditorium, Strandgade 71, ground floor, 1401 Copenhagen K
The seminar is held to mark the five-year anniversary for the Follow-up to the Millennium Summit. In two paragraphs of the 2005 World Summit Outcome, the UN gave formal expression to the norm of responsibility to protect (R2P). In this document, R2P is defined as the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. It is a responsibility that belongs to each individual state to protect its own populations, and well as a responsibility that belongs to the international community.
The last five years have witnessed major political and intellectual debates about the meaning and viability of R2P. What does the commitment to R2P add to existing protections against mass violence and violations of human rights? What implications does this norm carry for decisions about humanitarian intervention vs. non-intervention? What implications does R2P have for the concepts and practices of national sovereignty? What implications does this norm have for ‘fragile states’? And what implications does R2P have for the protection of civilian populations?
The seminar will draw attention to the principled debates about R2P, its historical contexts, successes and failures, and directions for the future. Speakers are experts in the field from the U.S., Europe, and the Nordic countries.
Speakers will include
Tomas G. Weiss, Presidential Professor of Political Science at The CUNY Graduate Center and Director of the Ralph Bunche Institute of International Studies
Oliver Jütersonke is Head of Research at the Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding (CCDP) at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva
David Kendal is Deputy Head of Department, Department of International Law, Royal Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Diana Amnéus, LL.D. is Senior Researcher at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Lund University.
See more information on the speakers and the event at this link.
3. Is There a Responsibility to Protect?
World Affairs Councils of America
4 November 2010
This conference will take place at noon on 4 November 2010 at the Mayflower Hotel, 1127 Connecticut Avenue Northwest Washington, DC. The World Affairs Councils of America's National Conference, held annually for more than a decade, has earned a reputation as the place to meet and mingle with some of the most well-regarded national and international personalities and policymakers.
Panelists will be: Ambassador Richard Williamson, Former US Special Envoy to Sudan and Stanley Foundation advisory council member; Dr. Edward Luck, UN Special Advisor and Stanley Foundation advisory council member. For more information or to register for the conference, please visit the World Affairs Councils of America's Web site.
4. Early warning for Protection: Technologies and Practice for the Prevention of Mass Atrocity Crimes
3-4 November 2010
Grant applications and abstracts for the Early Warning for Protection Conference are closing 30 August. Apply or register now - places are filling quickly!
Crystal Ballroom, Phnom Penh Hotel
53 Monivong Boulevard,
Phnom Penh Cambodia
For more information and to register click here
5. The International Criminal Court and the Responsibility to Protect Synergies and Tensions
The Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights (ECI)
3-4 December 2010 – Helsinki
As the 2005 UN World Summit decided to advance the project on “responsibility to protect” (R2P), it stated that each State had the “responsibility to protect it populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity”. The international community (including the UN itself) was called upon to “help States to exercise this responsibility”. Since 2005, the content of the R2P project has been increasingly identified with the prevention of the four crimes laid out in the summit document. These crimes clearly coincide with the province of international criminal justice and especially with the jurisdiction of the ICC. This raises some important and interesting questions. What is the relationship between political action undertaken through R2P and judicial action by the ICC? Whether and how their respective fields of operation should be coordinated? (…)
Click here fore more information
Thanks to Stephanie Perazzone for compiling this listserv