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  • Author: Simon Adams
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: This year the world will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the adoption of the Charter of the United Nations. But celebrations recognizing this historical landmark will occur at a time when the entire post-1945 structure of human rights, humanitarianism and multilateral diplomacy are under threat. Not since the UN was first formed have so many people been displaced by persecution, conflict and war. Not since the peak of the Cold War has the UN Security Council appeared so bitterly divided and incapable of decisive action. And as a new decade begins, there are renewed threats to international peace and security, and fresh assaults on human dignity.
  • Topic: Genocide, Human Rights, Social Movement, Refugees, Syrian War, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), UN Security Council
  • Political Geography: China, Yemen, United Nations, Syria, Chile, Myanmar, Global Focus, Xinjiang
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: Since the principle of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) was unanimously adopted at the 2005 UN World Summit, the international community has looked to the UN Security Council in New York to respond when a government has been unwilling or unable to protect its population from war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide or ethnic cleansing. Paragraphs 138-139 of the World Summit Outcome Document recognize the Security Council’s unique role with regard to upholding the international community’s responsibility to protect as the body primarily responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security. However, the Human Rights Council (HRC) and other Geneva-based mechanisms are also essential for preventing atrocity crimes. Since systematic or widespread human rights violations serve as early warning signs of possible atrocities, Geneva-based mechanisms are often the first to raise the alarm regarding situations where violations and abuses threaten to deepen or deteriorate. Such mechanisms play an important role in enabling the international community to assist states in preventing mass atrocities (R2P’s Pillar II) and respond in a timely and decisive manner to atrocity risks (Pillar III).
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Law, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), UN Security Council, Atrocities
  • Political Geography: United Nations, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: Today the UN General Assembly elected Armenia, Brazil, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Libya, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Namibia, Netherlands, Poland, Republic of Korea, Sudan and Venezuela to the Human Rights Council (HRC) for the 2020-2022 term. With the elections of Germany, Japan, Marshall Islands, Netherlands and Republic of Korea, 20 of the 47 Council members during 2020 will also be members of the Group of Friends of the Responsibility to Protect in Geneva.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Ethnic Cleansing, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), Atrocities
  • Political Geography: Japan, Sudan, Indonesia, Poland, Libya, Brazil, Germany, Armenia, United Nations, Venezuela, Korea, Netherlands, Mauritania, Namibia, Marshall Islands
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: The 42nd regular session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) was held in Geneva between 9 and 27 September 2019. As the primary international human rights body, the HRC has the capacity to prevent and respond to mass atrocity crimes, as systematic violations and abuses of human rights can be an indicator of potential genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity or ethnic cleansing. The summary below highlights major outcomes from the 42nd session as they relate to the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) populations from such crimes. As part of the session, the Netherlands delivered a statement on behalf of 53 members of the Group of Friends of R2P.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Transitional Justice, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), Atrocities, UN Human Rights Council (HRC)
  • Political Geography: Sudan, Yemen, Democratic Republic of the Congo, United Nations, Syria, Somalia, Burundi, Bolivia, Myanmar, Central African Republic
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: The 41st regular session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) was held in Geneva between 24 June and 12 July 2019. As the primary international human rights body, the Human Rights Council has the capacity to prevent and respond to mass atrocity crimes, as systematic violations and abuses of human rights can be potential indicators of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity or ethnic cleansing. The summary below highlights major outcomes and relevant dialogues from the 41st session as they relate to the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) populations from such crimes. As part of the session, the Netherlands and Rwanda delivered two statements on behalf of members of the Group of Friends of R2P.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Law, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), Atrocities, UN Human Rights Council (HRC)
  • Political Geography: Philippines, Democratic Republic of the Congo, United Nations, Syria, Netherlands, Rwanda, Eritrea
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: The eleventh report of the UN Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) emphasizes the important role of prevention. The report takes stock of a range of measures that individual states and the international community can undertake while upholding their preventive responsibilities based upon best practices since the adoption of R2P at the 2005 UN World Summit. While acknowledging a growing number of contemporary atrocity situations around the world, the Secretary-General cautions that “there is a growing gap between our words of commitment and the experience of protecting vulnerable populations.” The report offers a number of practical policy suggestions based upon experiences of the last decade and serves as a call to action for member states and international institutions.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Law, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), Atrocities
  • Political Geography: United Nations, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: Today, 7 June 2019, the United Nations General Assembly elected Estonia, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Tunisia and Viet Nam to the UN Security Council for the period of 2020-2021. With their election, 6 of the 15 members of the Council in 2020 will be “Friends of the Responsibility to Protect” – having appointed an R2P Focal Point and/or joined the Group of Friends of R2P in New York and Geneva.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Human Rights, Sovereignty, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), UN Security Council, Atrocities
  • Political Geography: Vietnam, Estonia, United Nations, Tunisia, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: The 40th regular session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) was held in Geneva between 25 February and 22 March 2019. As the primary international human rights body, the Human Rights Council has the capacity to prevent and respond to mass atrocity crimes, as systematic violations and abuses of human rights can be potential indicators of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity or ethnic cleansing. The summary below highlights major outcomes and relevant dialogues from the 40th session as they relate to the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) populations from such crimes. As part of the session, the Netherlands delivered a statement on behalf of members of the Group of Friends of R2P.
  • Topic: International Law, State Violence, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), Atrocities, UN Human Rights Council (HRC)
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, North Korea, Palestine, United Nations, Nicaragua, Syria, Myanmar, South Sudan, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: The 39th regular session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) was held in Geneva between 10 and 28 September 2018. As the primary international human rights body, the Human Rights Council has the capacity to prevent and respond to mass atrocity crimes, as systematic violations and abuses of human rights can be potential indicators of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity or ethnic cleansing. The summary below highlights major outcomes and relevant dialogues from the 39th session as they relate to the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) populations from such crimes. As part of the session, the Netherlands delivered two statements on behalf of 49 members of the Group of Friends of R2P.
  • Topic: International Law, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), Atrocities, UN Human Rights Council (HRC)
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, Asia, South America, United Nations, Central America, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: Today the UN General Assembly elected Argentina, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Czech Republic, Denmark, Eritrea, Fiji, India, Italy, Philippines, Somalia, Togo and Uruguay to the Human Rights Council (HRC) for the 2019-2021 term. With the elections of Argentina, Bangladesh, Czech Republic, Denmark, Italy and Uruguay, 20 of the 47 Council members during 2019 are also members of the Group of Friends of the Responsibility to Protect in Geneva.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Elections, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), Atrocities, UN Human Rights Council (HRC)
  • Political Geography: United Nations, Global Focus
  • Author: Jared Genser
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: When it was adopted by the United Nations (UN) system in 2005, the doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) was meant to provide an implementation mechanism for the international community to respond to governments that were perpetrating the mass atrocity crimes of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity. As R2P is now in its second decade of existence, it is important to evaluate past implementation of R2P by the UN Security Council — the UN body charged with taking collective action when all other preventive efforts have failed and atrocity crimes are being committed or are imminent. This briefing paper is a summary of a more detailed law review article recently published in the University of Chicago Journal of International Law.
  • Topic: Genocide, War Crimes, Ethnic Cleansing, International Community, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), UN Security Council, Crimes Against Humanity
  • Political Geography: United Nations, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: The 38th regular session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) was held in Geneva between 18 June and 6 July 2018. As the primary international human rights body, the Human Rights Council has the capacity to prevent and respond to potential mass atrocity crimes. The summary below highlights major outcomes and relevant dialogues from the 38th session as they relate to the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) populations from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing. As part of the session, the Netherlands and Australia delivered two statements on behalf of the 51 members of the Group of Friends of R2P.
  • Topic: Responsibility to Protect (R2P), Atrocities, UN Human Rights Council (HRC), Crimes Against Humanity
  • Political Geography: Democratic Republic of the Congo, United Nations, Syria, Eritrea
  • Author: Simon Adams
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: When we think of the Holocaust our mind slips inexorably to dismal images of cattle cars stuffed with people, or to gas chambers, crematoria and the cruel irony of the “Arbeit Macht Frei” gate. But of the six million Jews killed during the Holocaust over a million were shot with rifles and other small arms. They were not killed in concentration camps, but were murdered in fields or forests and pitched into mass graves outside villages in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe. Before Auschwitz, Sobibor or Treblinka, the Holocaust began with bullets. The same is true of most mass atrocities carried out since 1945. From the killing fields of Cambodia to the burnt villages of Darfur, most of the killing was done with rifles and other small arms. It is for this reason that there is an enduring connection between preventing atrocities and confronting the international arms trade. The AK-47, or Kalashnikov, is the most popular weapon in the world today, with an estimated 70 million currently in existence. Numerous countries manufacture local variants of the ubiquitous assault rifle and while a new Chinese-made AK-47 might cost you $500, you can easily purchase one in many former conflict zones for as cheap as $50. When I lived in Johannesburg during the mid-1990s, leftover AK-47s from the civil war in Mozambique were still making their way through the townships and some entrepreneurial gangs were even renting out their AK-47s to other aspiring criminals at an hourly rate.
  • Topic: Violent Extremism, Weapons , Arms Trade, Responsibility to Protect (R2P)
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Middle East, United Nations, Global Focus
  • Author: Simon Adams
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: The United Nations faces an existential crisis. The norms that bind and ‘safeguard humanity’ are currently under threat. The deliberate bombing of hospitals and the indiscriminate killing of civilians has become almost routine in Syria and several other conflicts. Numerous governments and murderous non-state actors (like isis or Boko Haram) are defying international humanitarian and human rights law. This article argues that the solution to the current global exigency and a central challenge facing the next Secretary-General is to achieve an equilibrium shift away from crisis response and towards conflict prevention. This is especially true with regard to preventing mass atrocity crimes (genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing). Historically, no single issue has done more to tarnish the reputation of the un than the failure to halt atrocities. Under a committed Secretary-General, the un has unique capacity to prevent these crimes.
  • Topic: International Law, Displacement, Conflict, Violence, Responsibility to Protect (R2P)
  • Political Geography: United Nations, Syria, Global Focus