UN Media Statement: General Assembly to discuss Responsibility to Protect

To facilitate discussion and emphasize the value of a collective approach to protecting populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, the President of the General Assembly is convening an informal interactive dialogue on the responsibility to protect, specifically focused on a timely and decisive response.

WHEN: Wednesday, 5 September 2012, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

WHERE: Conference Room 4, North Lawn Building, United Nations Headquarters

WHAT: Member States, UN officials, civil society and expert panellists will engage in a discussion based on the report of the Secretary-General: “Responsibility to protect: timely and decisive response” (A/66/874-S/2012/578 of 25 July 2012).

Morning session: 10:00-13:00

Opening remarks:

  • H.E. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, President of the General Assembly
  • H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General
  • Mr. Adama Dieng, Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide

Expert Panel Discussion:

Moderator:

Mr. Adama Dieng, Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide

Panellists:

(PG Note: Alex Bellamy’s address will be available here in full on Thursday 6 September)

Issues to be addressed:

  • The interconnectedness of prevention and response;
  • The range of tools available under Chapters VI, VII and VIII of the UN Charter for implementing the third pillar of the responsibility to protect (timely and decisive response);
  • Partners available for implementation;
  • Lessons learned in implementing the responsibility to protect;
  • Protecting responsibly;
  • The way forward.

After a first round of remarks by the panel, Member States will be invited to address the issues listed above and to share their perspectives and experiences. A number of civil society organisations may be invited to speak.

Afternoon session: 15:00-18:00

Interactive dialogue: Continuation of interventions from the floor, further reflections from the panellists.

BACKGROUND:

At the 2005 World Summit, world leaders formally accepted the responsibility of each State to protect its population from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. Leaders also agreed that when any State fails to meet that responsibility, all States (the “inter-national community”) are responsible for helping to protect people threatened with such crimes.

The General Assembly has been discussing the responsibility to protect since 2009, when the Secretary-General presented his first report on the issue: “Implementing the responsibility to protect” (A/63/677 of 12 January 2009).

Since 2009, the Secretary-General has prepared annual reports on different aspects of the concept: “Early warning, assessment and the responsibility to protect” (A/64/864 of 14 July 2010), “The role of regional and sub-regional arrangements in implementing the responsibility to protect” (A/65/877 of 28 June 2011), and, this year, “Responsibility to protect: timely and decisive response” (A/66/874 of 25 July 2012), focused on the third pillar of the concept.

The three pillars of the responsibility to protect, as agreed at the 2005 World Summit and formulated in the Secretary-General’s 2009 report, are:

1. The State carries the primary responsibility for protecting populations from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing, and their incitement;

2. The international community has a responsibility to encourage and assist States in fulfilling this responsibility;

3. The international community has a responsibility to use appropriate diplomatic, humanitarian and other means to protect populations from these crimes. If a State is manifestly failing to protect its populations, the international community must be prepared to take collective action to protect populations, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.

This fourth General Assembly dialogue on the responsibility to protect aims to provide a forum for Member States to interact with expert panellists to assess progress to date in implementing the third pillar. It also is an opportunity to exchange views and perspectives on the range of tools available and the partnerships that are crucial for a timely and effective response. And the interactive nature of the dialogue will serve to clarify and deepen our collective understanding of the third pillar and the close connection between prevention and response.

Live webcast available at: http://webtv.un.org

More information on R2P: www.un.org/en/preventgenocide/adviser/

Author: protectiongateway

Human Protection Hub

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