On 5 August 2013, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon published his fifth report on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P). Entitled "Responsibility to protect: State responsibility and prevention", the report examines how states can uphold their primary obligation to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing by galvanising national capacity and resilience.
The Secretary-General outlines six key risk factors that could lead to the perpetration of atrocity crimes and outlines how they can be mitigated by preventive policies seeking to build national resistance and promote and protect human rights. The report also recommends that states institutionalise a targeted approach to preventing atrocity crimes by appointing a national atrocity prevention focal point, conducting risk assessments and participating in the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review, among other recommendations.
Along with a number of civil society organisations across the globe, UNA-UK participated in consultations held by the Joint Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect while the report was being drafted. The General Assembly will discuss the themes of the report in an informal interactive dialogue set to take place on 11 September 2013.
The joint office was recently bolstered by the appointment of Professor Jennifer Welsh to the position of Special Adviser to the Secretary-General, and who will focus on the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity. She succeeds Dr Edward Luck who left the position in June 2012.
Professor Welsh will work under the overall guidance of Adama Dieng, the Secretary-General's Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, to further the conceptual, political, institutional and operational development of the responsibility to protect concept, as set out by the General Assembly in the 2005 World Summit outcome document.
Currently Professor of International Relations and Co-Director of the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict at the University of Oxford, Ms. Welsh will serve at the level of Assistant Secretary-General.
More on R2P
This issue of the UNA-UK Magazine looks at the seemingly intractable crisis in Syria, and in particular, the UN’s response to it. We are delighted and fortunate to have Lakhdar Brahimi guest editing this issue of the magazine.