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The responsibility to rebuild needs to be re-elevated to prominence as an integral component of r2p: conceptually, normatively and operationally; and its institutional homes in the un system and the Secretary-General’s role clarified. The 2009 three pillar formulation of r2p works well in most contexts, but is problematic in that it buries and loses sight of the critical importance of the original iciss third ‘responsibility to rebuild’ and reconstruct war-raved societies to the point of being viable and self-sustaining once again. We derive some key lessons from the major international interventions of the twenty-first century and recall the context in which r2p was originally formulated in order to highlight the distinctive features of its contribution to international policy. We then describe three dimensions of the responsibility to rebuild – recovery, reconstruction and reconciliation – and the strategies and steps needed for the rebuilding agenda. Recalling that Security Council authorisation of r2p coercive operations is a nonnegotiable prerequisite, we suggest that the responsibility to rebuild can be reintroduced and implemented through the administrative and political leadership roles of the Secretary-General.

In: Global Responsibility to Protect

Growing international solidarity for protection principles has formed the backdrop for an evolving notion of human protection at the un in the post-Cold War era. The emergence of the ‘Human Rights up Front’ initiative, protection of children and Women, Peace and Security policy agendas, and normative frameworks such as the protection of civilians and the Responsibility to Protect are indicative of a tangible human protection agenda at the un. However, the extent to which human protection norms have diffused in different regions vary in important ways. Africa – one region or many – has been a norm maker, shaper and taker, as well as a major recipient of action in accordance with this nascent normative regime. This article provides an overview of regionalism in Africa and examines how perspectives and institutional expressions at the regional level(s) have been influenced by – and in turn influenced – the uptake and development of norms around human protection.

In: Global Responsibility to Protect

This article will argue that despite its role as a norm entrepreneur the African Union (au), when analysed through the un Secretary-General’s 3-Pillar framework of responsibility, has only had limited success and faced significant constraints in promoting Pan-African norms relating to sovereignty and non-interference, governance and development in order to achieve human protection and the prevention of mass atrocities. Human protection refers to protection of civilians from human rights abuses with a particular focus on mass atrocity crimes. This article will also assess the evolving au-un partnership and conclude by assessing the limits of norm building and propose strategies for enhancing human protection in Africa.

In: Global Responsibility to Protect

This article explores the challenges and prospects of mainstreaming RtoP in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (asean) through the analysis of the roles and performance of the asean human rights bodies, in particular the asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (aichr). The author argues that although asean has made some progress in institutionalizing the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, it will take more time for asean to mark substantial shift in intra-asean relations and suggests that, in Southeast Asia where sovereignty is still jealously guarded, norms and ideas such as RtoP cannot yet have a decisive impact in practice. Specifically, mainstreaming RtoP in asean is constrained by the principles of non-interference and consensus decision-making, which unfortunately remains the norm. In order for asean to effectively care for people, a paradigm shift is necessary. Such shift can be anchored in the asean Human Rights Declaration (ahdr) as well as employing the ‘asean minus X’ decision-making formula, activating the Troika, and dispatching of special envoys. These options, which are not new to asean and have historically helped in its engagement with human rights, could also enable asean to prevent and respond to systematic human rights violations and other issues which may amount to war crimes. As well, promoting national and regional dialogues on RtoP could influence asean member states, especially those who are not yet comfortable with the principle. Different workshops and seminars that the aichr has been organizing already provide the body opportunities for sharing and learning from other regions.

In: Global Responsibility to Protect

Drawing upon talks delivered at the Second Global Action Against Mass Atrocity Crimes conference, held in Manila 2016, this paper examines the extent to which the Asia Pacific region has begun to translate its commitment to the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) into practice. It finds that the so-called “East Asian Peace” has transformed the region from one of the world’s deadliest to one of the world’s most peaceful. But many key challenges remain and there is much to be done to make R2P and atrocity prevention a daily lived reality. This article proceeds in three parts. The first briefly describes the dramatic decline of atrocity crimes in East Asia. The second points to some key challenges on the ideational and institutional fronts. The third section turns specifically to the need to develop national architectures for atrocity prevention.

In: Global Responsibility to Protect

Women, Peace and Security (wps) as a global agenda has gained traction since it was institutionalized in the United Nations Security Council fifteen years ago. By December 2014, 46 out of 193 Member States of the United Nations have adopted their National Action Plans to systematically implement their respective country commitments to wps. To date, 24 of the countries with National Action Plans are in Europe while 13 are in Africa; the Asia Pacific Region has 6 and the Americas have 3. In Southeast Asia, only the Philippines has developed a National Action Plan within the framework of the wps while other countries integrated it in the existing broad policy and programmatic frames such as addressing violence against women. At the level of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (asean), taking on the agenda of women, peace and security has yet to move beyond communicative rhetoric. This paper is an attempt to explore how wps can be made part of the regional agenda on human protection and mass atrocities prevention, by mapping out discursive and institutional entry points within several asean Member States and within asean itself through the idea of multi-focal norm entrepreneurship.

In: Global Responsibility to Protect

This article introduces the special issue on ‘Human Protection across Regions: Learning from Norm Promotion and Capacity Building in Southeast Asia and Africa’. It identifies the aims and objectives of the Southeast Asia-Africa dialogue from which the contributions in this special issue emerged and briefly explains the background of the contributors. It then proceeds to lay out the structure and major arguments of each contribution in the context of norm promotion and capacity building in the two regions.

In: Global Responsibility to Protect
In: Global Responsibility to Protect

Ten years after its endorsement by the un General Assembly, the operationalisation of the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) concept faces challenges of consistency and capacity. Too often, global politics at the world’s premier intergovernmental body, the un, hampers effective action. Regional arrangements have a crucial role to play in this regard, however, questions of capacity to live up to this expectation remain. The Peace and Security Council (psc) of the African Union (au), mandated to implement the African Peace and Security Architecture (apsa) has primarily focused on developing the African Standby Force (asf), which the au succeeded in bringing to its ‘Full Operational Capability’ (foc) in December 2015 for implementation. Deploying the asf in deserving cases, for instance in Burundi in 2016, raises issues of sovereign consent, risks and costs. To avoid these complexities, this article argues that regional arrangements under Chapter viii are primarily pacific tools of the Security Council; focusing on harnessing these peaceful mechanisms of conflict prevention offers potential for consistent and effective ‘first responses’ to crises, with fewer complications. Regional arrangements as mediation tools present great opportunity for peaceful settlement of local disputes. Support for mediation is typically by peace operations. This article proposes that mediation support by a ‘preventive arbitration’ tool through ‘popular participation’ under the African Governance Architecture (aga) may have a pivotal role in this respect. Therefore, a regional responsibility to protect, through greater mediation, requires mediating challenges of governance in Africa.

In: Global Responsibility to Protect

Forcible displacement can constitute a mass atrocity crime. This is something that is considered within the non-binding Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. Efforts to implement the Guiding Principles at the regional level suggest one path to implement stronger legal protections for internally displaced persons (idps), in particular, against mass atrocity crimes. These regional processes, however, can vary in remarkable ways. In the African Union, the Kampala Convention has brought the Guiding Principles and protections against mass atrocity crimes directed at idps into regional hard law; it also includes robust implementation and enforcement mechanisms. At this stage, however, these mechanisms remain anticipatory rather than effective; consequently international assistance will be vital to entrench the rights anchored in the Convention. By contrast, asean has introduced no overt protections for idps. However, its developing legal human rights framework through the asean Declaration of Human Rights, coupled with the Association’s response to the Rohingya idp crisis in Myanmar, suggests that a policy-focused change, while incremental, may be happening.

In: Global Responsibility to Protect