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.
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.
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.
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.
The West Africa region is arguably the most turbulent region in Africa; from the civil wars of Liberia and Sierra Leone to the political disputes in Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea Bissau and recently Mali; the region has hosted the highest numbers of the United Nations (un) peacekeeping missions with mixed results. While the responsibility of peace, security and ensuring human protection resides with governments, Civil Society Organizations (csos) have demonstrated their capacity to complement government’s efforts in peace and security; and political leadership across the world has come to realise the strength of csos in anticipating, preventing and resolving conflicts because of their in-depth knowledge of context and expertise in working closely with communities. This paper assesses the contributions of csos towards the promotion of human rights protection, mass atrocities prevention and civilian protection in conflict-affected areas in West Africa; and argues for continued involvement of csos in human protection.
This article provides an overview of how the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (asean) has responded to human protection issues such as human rights, mass atrocities prevention, and civilian protection in armed conflicts. It examines the evolution and dynamics of asean’s regionalism and the factors that shaped and transformed its norms. While asean has adopted the language of human security and human protection, traditional norms of sovereignty and non-interference remain sticky. The pluralist nature of asean also limits the organization from responding effectively to crisis situations within member states such as identity-based conflicts. However, there are also opportunities for continuing engagement on human protection issues with various stakeholders at the regional and domestic levels. Some asean member states are more open to mainstreaming the principle of Responsibility to Protect in the agenda of asean and recognize the importance of building the capacity of member states in preventing mass atrocities.
In recent years, Mexico has presented mostly favourable views of the R2P concept. This is a radical change, since historically it had been a strong advocate of non-intervention norms. This essay argues that Mexico’s R2P position has been shaped and constrained by two incoherent domestic narratives: democratization and the war on drugs. These two narratives have led to an inconsistent and ambiguous record of compliance with human rights norms and R2P principles. Mexican authorities, who had been championing for the implementation of R2P, have now become victims of their own international commitments. This Latin American country thus needs to reconcile its two distinct domestic agendas if it aims to be seen as an R2P advocate. The goal of this study is to explore the inherent complex and at times contradictory relationship between domestic demands for democratization and securitization and R2P commitments, using Mexico as a critical case study.
In 2011 the United Nations Security Council legitimized a no-fly zone over Libya under the normative rubric of the ‘responsibility to protect’. As the Libya intervention gained steam, another uprising broke out in Syria. In contrast to Libya, discord between Western actors and emerging powers underpinned standstill at the Council. What explains such radically different outcomes? The international responses to the crises in Libya and Syria may look like evidence of a tipping point in the international system which is undergoing a profound power shift. And yet the two crises unfolded almost in parallel. This article argues that while a systemic understanding of power cannot capture the dynamics underpinning the Libyan and Syrian crises, power is crucial in explaining their very different outcomes. While not revealing a tipping point in the international system from the ‘West’ to the ‘Rest’, a situated and multifaceted analysis of power reveals that both Western and brics countries played key roles in determining the overall international responses to both crises and in so doing are shaping the ongoing normative debate over the ‘Responsibility to Protect’.