The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect’s Newsletter is intended to highlight recent activities of interest to our colleagues and supporters worldwide. Highlights from the Global Centre’s activities since February 2015 include an assessment mission to the Central African Republic, the release of our 4th Occasional Paper:Failure to Protect: Syria and the UN Security Council and co-hosting the 5th Annual Meeting of the Global Network of R2P Focal Points.
1. Assessment mission to the Central African Republic
Between 26 January and 8 February Research Analyst Evan Cinq-Mars undertook an assessment mission to the Central African Republic (CAR). This was the second such mission to CAR undertaken by the Global Centre. The first mission, in March 2014, assessed efforts to uphold R2P, focusing on the protection of civilians, accountability, mediation and reconciliation. The Global Centre subsequently published a policy brief that provided recommendations for the international community to enhance efforts to uphold R2P in CAR.
The objective of this second mission was to assess accountability for grave human rights violations, protection of civilians, humanitarian access and progress towards reconciliation. Meetings were held with a diverse array of actors, including government officials and various UN agencies, representatives from the African Union, European Union and the French intervention force, as well as humanitarian and non-governmental actors.
During February the Global Centre convened an off-the-record briefing for the UN Security Council. Additionally, the recommendations contained within the policy brief, Reinforcing the Responsibility to Protect in the Central African Republic, was updated to reflect the current situation. Later this year the Global Centre will publish an Occasional Paper focused on efforts to prevent the violence in CAR.
UN Peacekeepers with MINUSCA, taken by Mr. Evan Cinq-Mars while on a research mission to CAR in February.
2. R2P at 10: Progress, Challenges and Opportunities in the Asia Pacific
On 26 and 27 February the Global Centre, together with the United Nations, Asia-Pacific Centre for R2P, Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace, International Coalition for RtoP and The Stanley Foundation, cohosted the “R2P at 10” conference in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The event was opened by the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, H.E. Samdeh Hun Sen, and many high-level officials participated. The purpose of the conference was to discuss how R2P has matured since 2005 and focus on ways to build upon the successes and failures of the last 10 years. In his remarks, the Global Centre’s Executive Director, Dr. Simon Adams, focused on the gains that have been made and what still needs to be done with regards to prevention and timely response in the face of mass atrocities. The Global Centre’s Director of Programs, Ms. Savita Pawnday, also spoke during the conference on a panel focused on building national architectures and the Global Network of R2P Focal Points. Two members of the Global Centre’s International Advisory Board, Professor the Hon. Gareth Evans, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Australia, and Dr. Edward C. Luck, former UN Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, also addressed the conference.
While in Phnom Penh, Dr. Adams and Ms. Pawnday also participated in consultations for the upcoming Secretary-General’s Report on R2P for states in the Asia-Pacific region as well as in a consultation with civil society groups. Dr. Adams and Ms. Pawnday also paid their respects at the Tuol Sleng and Cheoung Ek genocide memorial centres.
Photos of victims of the Cambodian Genocide in Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
3. Release of “Failure to Protect: Syria and the UN Security Council”
On 14 March the Global Centre published its fourth Occasional Paper, entitled, “Failure to Protect: Syria and the UN Security Council.” The paper was written by Dr. Simon Adams and was published on the fourth anniversary of the start of the Syrian conflict. This occasional paper assesses the Security Council’s response to Syria through the conflict’s various phases. Dr. Adams argues that without an agreement by the Permanent Members to refrain from using their veto in future mass atrocity situations, the legitimacy and efficacy of the Council will be increasingly called into question. To access the full text, please visit our webpage.
4. Workshop on R2P in New Delhi, India
On 8 and 9 April the Ministry of External Affairs of the Republic of India (MEA), the United Service Institution of India (USI) and the Global Centre co-hosted a two-day workshop in New Delhi, India, on the Responsibility to Protect. The conference, the first to be held on the sub-continent with regard to R2P, was an opportunity to have an informed conversation with key stakeholders (senior officials from the MEA, Defense Ministry and other relevant ministries as well as policy research institutes based in Delhi and relevant experts) about the context in which India engages in civilian protection and mass atrocity prevention in multilateral fora. Over the course of the constructive discussion, issues relating to UN Security Council reform, use of force and the future of UN peacekeeping operations were examined. Senior MEA officials noted that India was deeply committed to protecting populations from mass atrocity crimes and that the recommendations raised during the conference would factor into future policy planning. Ms. Savita Pawnday and the Global Centre’s Advocacy Officer, Mr. Ryan D’Souza, participated in the seminar.
Ms. Savita Pawnday and Mr. Ryan D’Souza representing the Global Centre at the Workshop on R2P in New Delhi, India.
5. Centennial of the Armenian Genocide
On 24 April the centennial of the Armenian Genocide was commemorated. The Global Centre released a statement encouraging the UN and governments around the world to commemorate the centennial by formally recognizing the genocide. The Global Centre’s Executive Director was interviewed on Arise TV regarding the centennial and wrote an op-ed for Time’s “Zocalo Public Square Forum” entitled“Here’s Why Genocide Keeps Happening.” The Global Centre’s Advocacy Officer, Mr. Ryan D’Souza spoke on a panel during the “Responsibility 2015” Armenian Genocide Centennial Conference in New York.
6. Advocacy on the situation in Burundi
The Global Centre has been concerned about the rising risk for potential mass atrocities in Burundi. On 26 April civil unrest broke out in Burundi following President Nkurunziza’s announcement to seek a third term, seen by many as a violation of the constitution and of the Arusha Peace Accord. The Global Centre released a statement on the situation and Dr. Simon Adams made multiple appearances on BBC and Al Jazeera English to discuss the deteriorating situation. Burundi has also been featured in the “Imminent Risk” section of the R2P Monitor. For more information on this situation, please visit our Populations at Risk webpage.
7. R2P Policy Forum in Pretoria, South Africa
On 7 July the Global Centre co-hosted an R2P Policy Forum in Pretoria alongside the Department of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa (DIRCO), the Institute for Global Dialogue and the University of South Africa. The policy forum facilitated a comprehensive examination of the prevention of mass atrocities in the context of South African domestic and foreign policy. The forum brought together high-level officials from DIRCO, as well as South African academics and think tanks, to debate challenges in preventing atrocities as well as how to better engage in regional and international efforts to respond to these situations. The forum also facilitated the identification of measures to strengthen South Africa’s commitment to R2P, as well as an exchange of ideas among participants about how emerging powers can continue to engage in the development of the norm. Dr. Simon Adams and Ms. Savita Pawnday attended the meeting on behalf of the Global Centre and gave remarks during the event.
Dr. Simon Adams giving introductory remarks at the R2P Policy Forum in Pretoria South Africa on 7 July.
8. Advocacy around the 20th Commemoration of the Srebrenica Genocide
On 11 July the international community joined Bosnia and Herzegovina in marking the 20th Commemoration of the genocide in Srebrenica, where an estimated 8,000 men and boys were systematically murdered by Bosnian Serb forces within a UN-designated “safe area” under the protection of 400 peacekeepers. The Global Centre released a statement on the Commemoration and condemned the Russian veto of a UN Security Council draft resolution recognizing the crimes committed in Srebrenica as genocide.
Additionally, Dr. Simon Adams attended official Commemoration events in Potočari, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Dr. Simon Adams attended funeral services for exhumed victims of the Srebrenica Genocide in Potočari, Bosnia and Herzegovina on 11 July.
9. Global Network of R2P Focal Points
The UN Office of the Special Advisors for the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia and the Global Centre, organized the 2nd Regional Meeting of European members of the Global Network of R2P Focal Points on 20 April in Brdo, Slovenia. The purpose of this meeting was to hold European consultations for the next UN Secretary-General’s Annual Report on R2P.
The Governments of Spain and Chile co-hosted the fifth annual meeting of the Global Network of R2P Focal Points in Madrid, Spain, on 23 and 24 June in association with the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect and The Stanley Foundation. The meeting brought together senior government officials from more than 50 countries as well as representatives from the European Union and United Nations, including the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, Dr. Jennifer Welsh. During the two-day meeting, delegates participated in a range of plenary sessions on the theme of “10 Years of the Responsibility to Protect: Responding to New Challenges and Threats to Vulnerable Communities.” During the sessions, delegates focused on how R2P applies to non-state actors, vulnerable communities and the unique challenges faced by women in conflict situations. Representatives were briefed by a number of UN and civil society experts, including Ms. Rita Izsák, UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues and Ms. Saudatu Mahdi, the Bring Back Our Girls campaign leader in Nigeria.
Since September 2010, 49 countries, representing every region of world, have appointed a national R2P Focal Point, including most recently: Angola, Guinea, Jordan, Portugal, Qatar and Sierra Leone. For more information on the Global Network of R2P Focal Points please visit our webpage.
Opening of the Fifth Meeting of the Global Network of R2P Focal Points on 23 June in Madrid, Spain.
10. R2P Monitor and International Response Timelines
Since February the Global Centre released Issues 20- 22 of the R2P Monitor, a bimonthly bulletin which applies an R2P lens to situations where mass atrocity crimes are occurring or are at risk of occurring. These issues analyzed the situations in Syria, Iraq, Sudan, South Sudan, Nigeria, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Burma/Myanmar, Libya, Pakistan and Yemen.
The Global Centre also regularly updates its International Response Timelines on the situations in Burma/Myanmar, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Kordofan and Blue Nile States, South Sudan and Syria.
1. Informal NGO Roundtable Discussion with United States Under-Secretary of State Sarah Sewall
On 12 February the Global Centre and the Unites States Department of State organized an informal roundtable discussion with Under-Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights and the State Department’s Representative to the Atrocities Prevention Board, Ms. Sarah Sewall. The discussion brought together representatives from many non-governmental organizations to discuss how the United States can work with other countries and the UN to prevent mass atrocities.
2. Roundtable Policy Discussion at the National Security College of Australian National University
On 2 March Dr. Simon Adams spoke at a roundtable discussion at the National Security College at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia. The discussion centered on the principles of R2P and the current status of the UN Security Council regarding current crisis situations.
3. Can the International Criminal Court Deter Atrocities?
On 10 March the International Peace Institute, together with the Permanent Mission Liechtenstein, convened a panel discussion entitled “Can the International Criminal Court Deter Atrocities?” Following a presentation by Dr. Beth Simmons of Harvard University, Dr. Simon Adams spoke on the panel, alongside H.E. Mr. Hardeep Singh Puri, former Permanent Representative of India to the UN and Mr. Ken Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch.
4. The Future of Responsibility to Protect: Responsibility While Protecting and Implementation Mechanisms
On 9 and 10 April the Global Policy Institute of Colombia University and the International Relations Research Center of the University of Sao Paolo held a conference on the future of R2P. Dr. Simon Adams moderated a panel discussion on operationalizing R2P, which examined a range of mechanisms for atrocity prevention and civilian protection.
5. Rights for Peace: Challenges and Opportunities
Dr. Simon Adams and Ms. Savita Pawnday represented the Global Centre at the “Rights for Peace: Challenges and Opportunities” conference hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia and the Bled Strategic Forum in Brdo, Slovenia on 21 and 22 April. Ret. Lt. Gen Roméo Dallaire, a Global Centre patron, was a keynote speaker at the conference.
6. NAFSA: Association of International Educators
Dr. Simon Adams participated in the 2015 Annual Conference of NAFSA between 27 and 29 May in Boston, USA. On 27 May Dr. Adams was the keynote speaker at the NAFSA President’s Dinner, where he gave a speech to 100 Presidents and Provosts of universities from around the world. Prior to the conference Dr. Adams published a commentary to introduce participants to Ishmael Beah, one of the plenary speakers, entitled “War, Education, and International Justice: Ishmael Beah’s Journey from Child Soldier to Activist Storyteller.”
7. Meeting of the Latin American Network for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention
Ms. Nadira Khudayberdieva represented the Global Centre at the Meeting of the Latin American Network for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention held in Santiago, Chile, on 29 May. The meeting was organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile and the UN, together with the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation and The Stanley Foundation.
8. Salzburg Global Seminar: Symposium on North Korea
From 2 to 7 June Ms. Casey Karr, a Global Centre Research Analyst, attended the Salzburg Global Seminar for a Symposium on International Responses to Crimes Against Humanity: The Challenge of North Korea. The invitation-only symposium, held in Salzburg, Austria, was convened to discuss practical ways by which state and non-state actors, might realistically aim to help improve the human rights situation in North Korea.
Recent Global Centre Publications:
- 20 February, North Korea and the Responsibility to Protect (updated).
- 9 March, Summary of the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict UN Security Council Debate, 31 January 2015.
- 9 March, Persecution of the Rohingya in Burma/Myanmar and the Responsibility to Protect (updated).
- 15 March, 4 Years, 4 Vetoes, 220,000 dead: Statement on the Fourth Anniversary of the Syria Conflict.
- 17 April, Statement on 40th Anniversary of the Khmer Rouge’s Atrocities in Cambodia.
- 29 May, Statement on International Day of UN Peacekeepers.
- 29 June, Statement on the Fifth Annual Meeting of the Global Network of R2P Focal Points.
- 17 July, UNA-UK, Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect and Protection Approaches, Joint Statement on UK House of Lords Debate on the Responsibility to Protect.
Global Centre in the Media:
Staff Articles in the Media
- “The Responsibility to Protect at 10,” commentary by Dr. Simon Adams in E-International Relations, 29 March 2015.
- “New Zealand, ANZAC & the UN Security Council,” commentary by Dr. Simon Adams in Scoop Media, New Zealand, 13 April 2015.
- “The Responsibility to Protect: 10 Years On,” commentary co-authored by Dr. Simon Adams, Kirsty Duncan, Malte Brosig, Vesselin Popovski and Megan Schmidt in Open Canada, 8 May 2015.
Staff Quoted in the Media
- Dr. Simon Adams quoted in “Veto Costs Lives as Syrian Civil War Passes Deadly Milestone,” Inter Press Service News, 17 March 2015.
- Ryan X. D’Souza quoted in “UN moves closer to pulling peacekeepers from troubled Darfur,” Associated Press, 17 March 2015.
- Dr. Simon Adams quoted in “UN chided as Syrian civil war enters fifth year,” Newsweek, 17 March 2015.
- Evan Cinq-Mars quoted in “Central African Republic Peace Deal Meaningless, Groups Say,” Bloomberg, 9 April 2015.
- The Global Centre quoted in “Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect urges governments to commemorate Armenia’s tragedy by recognizing the crime,” Aysor, 28 April 2015.
- The Global Centre quoted in “What now for Burundi? Five key risks,”IRIN, 14 May 2015.
- Ryan D’Souza quoted in “Already Facing Famine, South Sudan Expels UN Humanitarian Coordinator,” Vice News, 1 June 2015.
- Since February, Dr. Simon Adams has been interviewed regularly on BBC and Al Jazeera regarding the situation in Burundi. He has also been interviewed on TV ARD, ARD Radio and Televista regarding Syria and other crisis situations, including general topics related to the Global Centre’s work with the UN Security Council. Additionally, Research Analyst, Evan Cinq-Mars has been interviewed on Al Jazeera English on the evolving situation in the Central African Republic.
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