In this issue...
Upcoming Conference and Workshop on RtoP on Progress, Challenges, and Opportunities in the Asia-Pacific Region
The Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, in partnership with the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect, Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace, the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, and the Stanley Foundation, is hosting a conference entitled The Responsibility to Protect at 10: Progress, Challenges, and Opportunities in the Asia Pacific on the 26-27 of February to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) at the World Summit in 2005. Aimed to foster debate about RtoP’s progress in the region in the first decade since its inception, the conference will also look ahead and consult on how to strengthen the regional and global implementation of RtoP. ICRtoP will facilitate a session during the conference itself, focused on the role of civil society in implementing the Responsibility to Protect, at which panelists and participants will discuss civil society’s unique role in atrocities prevention, share lessons learned, and identify ideas on how to spur further support for and work by organizations and actors in the Asia-Pacific region.
With 2015 marking ten years since the articulation of the Responsibility to Protect at the United Nations, it is now a necessary and critical moment for civil society actors engaged in the prevention of atrocities to recommit to upholding the principles enshrined in RtoP, assess the progress and challenges of the past decade, and consider how to strategically move forward. In this regard, the ICRtoP, in collaboration with the Stanley Foundation and the Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, will also host an expert workshop discussion on 28 February in Phnom Penh that will focus on enhancing civil society’s strategy for the Responsibility to Protect in the Asia-Pacific region. In addition to reflecting on the best practices and challenges of the past decade, the panel will also focus on evaluating the ability of both domestic and regional actors to implement RtoP, seeking out measures that could further operationalize the norm. Finally, the workshop will strategize on new priority areas for civil society as the global movement for RtoP’s advancement continues.
UN Special Advisers on the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect Release Statement on the Escalation of Incitement Rhetoric Following Recent ISIL Murder
In what Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon described as an “appalling act,” fighters for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) killed Jordanian air force pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh by burning him alive on 4 February 2015. ISIL captured the pilot in December 2014 after his jet crashedwhile conducting a bombing mission. Following his execution, King Abdullah of Jordan vowed topursue a “relentless war” on ISIL, promising to increase Jordan’s role in the US-led coalition against the terrorist insurgency.
Mr. Adama Dieng, Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, and Dr. Jennifer Welsh, Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, condemned the murder in the strongest terms in their 6 February statement, citing this killing as another example of ISIL’s deliberate abuse of human rights and international humanitarian law. While the Special Advisers support efforts by national authorities to ensure the protection of populations from ISIL and emphasize that perpetrators of human rights abuses must face justice, they also call on political and religious leaders to exercise constraint and abstain from incitement to hostility or violence, even in times of outrage. The Advisers “urge all religious leaders to act responsibly and refrain from using or condoning any language that may escalate tensions”, “the use of hate speech by influential personalities at a moment like this may only trigger further violence. An escalation of inflammatory rhetoric could ultimately serve the interests of terrorists.” The Special Advisers reminded the international community that the 2005 World Outcome Summit Document outlining the Responsibility to Protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity also included a commitment to prevent the incitement of these crimes.
Read the full statement here.
The Center for the Prevention of Genocide and the Dickey Center for International Understanding Release New Tool for Atrocity Prevention
The Early Warning Project, a new joint initiative of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Dickey Center for the International Understanding at Dartmouth College, produces risk assessments of the potential for mass atrocities to occur around the world. Through combining quantitative and qualitative analysis, the initiative aims to provide governments and advocacy groups with more reliable warning, ensuring greater opportunities to take preventative action. Preventing mass atrocities from occurring in the first place, the least costly and most effective manner to protect populations, requires an improved early warning mechanism. The Early Warning Project uses the best available data and methods to provide forecasts on countries worldwide, aiming to build a system that policymakers, journalists and advocates will trust as a source of early warning for mass atrocities.
The project can be explored here.
A recent article published in Chatham House’s Journal of International Affairs, titled The Responsibility to Protect and the International Criminal Court: counteracting the crisis, discusses the current state of the Responsibility to Protect and the International Criminal Court, arguing that discourse on the ICC and RtoP should shift from discussing international governance structures and focus on “positive complementarity” agendas. It explains that RtoP has been most successful at changing state behavior and preventing conflict than it is once the violence has begun. The author argues that rather than trying to change current structures in the United Nations Security Council in regards to RtoP implementation, more attention should be placed on building state capacity to protect their own populations, as outlined in Pillar I of RtoP.
Read the full article here.
Germany Needs More Than a Debate about the Military
Global Public Policy Institute
4 February 2015
A recent piece by the Global Public Policy Institute evaluates Germany’s role in preventing global mass atrocities, citing German President Gauck’s statement that it must be “natural for Germany and its allies to not simply refuse to help others who are threatened by genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing or crimes against humanity.” The article argues that controversy surrounding German foreign policy in regard to the use of military force too often distracts from a more constructive debate on non-military policy measures that can be pursued. It suggests that for Germany and the EU, an effective starting point should be contributing to mechanisms that ensure effective early warning.
Read the full piece here.
Joint Letter Calls on UK Political Parties to Commit to Atrocity Prevention
UNA-UK, Minority Rights Group International, International Alert, the Great Initiative
17 February 2015
In cooperation with other civil society organizations, the United Nations Association of the United Kingdom (an ICRtoP Steering Committee Member), published a joint letter that calls on UK political parties’ to enhance their commitment to the Responsibility to Protect and atrocity prevention. Highlighting that the UK Strategy on Preventing Conflict and Promoting Stabilization does not mention RtoP or the prevention of genocide and atrocity crimes as a goal, the letter urges party leaders to designate the prevention of atrocity crimes as a strategic national interest of the UK and an aim that mirrors the country’s humanitarian values.
Read the letter here.