Ban calls for three-pronged strategy to implement ‘responsibility to protect’

30 January 2009

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has outlined in a new report a three-pronged approach to implement the ‘responsibility to protect,’ a doctrine that holds States responsible for shielding their own populations from genocide and other major human rights abuses and requires the international community to step in if this obligation is not met.

At the 2005 World Summit, Heads of State and Government unanimously affirmed that each State has the ‘responsibility to protect,’ or ‘R2P.’

To thwart States from misusing this doctrine, it is crucial to develop a United Nations strategy, standards, processes and practices, Mr. Ban said in the report to the General Assembly.

To this end, he proposed a three-pillar strategy that centres on prevention, and if that fails, of “early and flexible response tailored to the specific circumstances of each case.”

The first pillar encompasses the protection responsibilities of the State because “prevention begins at home and the protection of populations is a defining attribute of sovereignty and statehood in the twenty-first century,” the report explained.

The second entails the international community providing assistance to States to carry out the R2P through measures such as confidential or public persuasion, education and training.

“Those contemplating the incitement or perpetration of crimes and violations relating to the responsibility to protect need to be made to understand both the costs of pursuing that path and the potential benefits of seeking peaceful reconciliation and development,” the Secretary-General wrote.

In the last pillar, the UN and other organizations would focus on saving lives through “timely and decisive action,” instead of on “arbitrary, sequential or graduated policy ladders that prize procedure over substance and process over results,” he added.

Mr. Ban called on the Assembly to take the first step by assess the strategy to implement R2P by finding ways to develop partnerships between States and the international community as well as to consider whether and how to conduct a periodic review what nations have done to implement the doctrine.


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