In April 2014, UNA-UK engaged its members and supporters in a letter-writing action calling on the UK Government to live up to its commitment to robustly implement the responsibility to protect (R2P) principle. This action formed part of UNA-UK's work marking 20 years since the genocide in Rwanda and sought to highlight measures that could help the UK improve its approach to atrocity prevention.
Over 200 members and supporters signed the letter, which was forwarded in May to Mark Simmonds MP, Foreign & Commonwealth Minister for conflict issues, accompanied by a covering letter from UNA-UK Chairman Sir Jeremy Greenstock.
In the letters, Sir Jeremy and UNA-UK members encouraged the UK Government to do all it could to ensure that its systems and policies were working effectively and in a coordinated fashion to prevent and respond to mass atrocities. They asked for more information about the role and responsibilities of the UK focal point on R2P, who works to promote R2P in foreign, defence and development policies at the national level, and supports international cooperation on early warning and atrocity prevention.
UNA-UK received a reply from a Foreign & Commonwealth Office representative working in the Conflict Department on 17 June. In the response, the work of the FCO is outlined, with a particular focus on specific cases where the R2P principle is being put into practice. The letter states that the "UK is fully committed to seeing R2P implemented and that the UK focal point role is working to deliver preventive measures which protect citizens in fragile countries".
You can read copies of the letters below.
UNA-UK believes that the UK can lead by example in this area and will continue to engage with the R2P focal point, the FCO and the wider UK Government on the issue of implementing R2P.