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Protect Populations from Genocide War & Ethnic Cleansing Discussion

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Human Rights Council
Intersessional panel discussion to mark the fifteenth anniversary of the
responsibility to protect
Theme: The responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic
cleansing and crimes against humanity, as enshrined in the 2005 World Summit Outcome
Concept note
Date and
venue:
11 May 2021, 3 to 5 p.m. (Geneva time), Room XVII, Palais des Nations.
Objective:
The panel discussion will consist in an exchange of best practices on strengthening national
policies and strategies to implement the responsibility to protect populations from
genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity through national
mechanisms and other stakeholders.
Chair:
H.E. Ms Keva Lorraine Bain, Permanent Representative of The Bahamas, Vice-
President of the Human Rights Council
Opening
statements:
Ms Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights ;
H.E. Dr. Mutlaq bin Majed Al-Qahtani, Special Envoy of the Foreign Minister of
Qatar for Counter-terrorism and Mediation of Conflict, National Focal Point for the
Responsibility to Protect;
Ms Karen Smith, Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Responsibility to
Protect;
Moderation:
Ms Savita Pawnday, Deputy Executive Director, Global Centre for the
Responsibility to Protect;
Panellists:
Ms Amina Bouayach, Chairperson, Moroccan National Human Rights Council;
Ms Rita Izsák-Ndiaye, Member of the United Nations Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination and former Special Rapporteur on Minority
Issues;
Mr Andrei Serbin Pont, President, Coordinadora Regional de Investigaciones
Económicas y Sociales (CRIES).
Outcome:
The expected outcomes of the panel discussion are:
- States and relevant stakeholders will learn from shared experiences and best
practices how to strengthen national policies and strategies to implement the
responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and
crimes against humanity.
- The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and
other relevant stakeholders will be better informed of the needs of States and other
entities in this area.
- OHCHR will prepare a summary report of the panel discussion.
Mandate:
On 24 July 2020, the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 44/14 on the fifteenth
anniversary of the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic
cleansing and crimes against humanity, as enshrined in the 2005 World Summit Outcome.
In this resolution, the Council has decided to “convene, before its forty-seventh session, an
intersessional panel discussion to mark the fifteenth anniversary of the responsibility to
protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against
humanity, as enshrined in the 2005 World Summit Outcome, on the exchange of best
practices on strengthening national policies and strategies to implement the responsibility

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to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against
humanity through national mechanisms and other stakeholders.”
Format:
The panel discussion will be chaired by Her Excellency Ambassador Keva Lorraine Bain,
Vice-President of the Human Rights Council. It will be limited to two hours. The opening
statements and initial presentations by the panellists will be followed by an interactive
discussion. A maximum of one hour will be set aside for the podium, including opening
statements, panellists’ presentations and their responses to questions and concluding
remarks. The remaining hour will be reserved for two segments of interventions from the
floor for States and observers (2x12), national human rights institutions (2x1) and non-
governmental organizations (2x2).
The list of speakers for the discussion will be established through the online inscription
system and, as per practice, statements by high-level dignitaries and groups of States will
be moved to the beginning of the list. Each speaker will have two minutes to raise issues
and to ask panellists questions. Delegates who have not been able to take the floor due to
time constraints will be able to upload their statements on the online system to be posted
on the Human Right Council Extranet.
Background:
The concept of “responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic
cleansing and crimes against humanity” emerged during the 1990s and was adopted in
2005 at the United Nations World Summit. It was reaffirmed in a consensus resolution
adopted in 2009 by the United Nations General Assembly.
In 2009 as well, the United Nations Secretary-General released a report, which featured
three pillars in the implementation of the responsibility to protect. Firstly, every State has
the responsibility to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, crimes against
humanity and ethnic cleansing. Secondly, the wider international community has the
responsibility to encourage and assist individual states in meeting that responsibility.
Lastly, if a state is manifestly failing to protect its populations, the international community
shall be prepared to take appropriate collective action, in a timely and decisive manner
and in accordance with the United Nations Charter.
Resolution 44/14 lays the emphasis on the first two pillars of the responsibility to protect
by “reiterating the responsibility of each individual State to protect its population from
genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, which entails
preventing these crimes, including their incitement, from occurring, through appropriate
and necessary means, and that the international community should encourage and help
States to exercise this responsibility”.
The resolution also insists on the need for the international community to “support the
United Nations in establishing an early warning capability”. It highlights the “important
contribution of the United Nations human rights system to efforts towards addressing
situations in which genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity
could be committed.In this respect, the Human Rights Council has adopted a significant
number of resolutions that specifically refer to the responsibility to protect. These include
thematic resolutions on the prevention of genocide and transitional justice, as well as a
series of country-specific resolutions.
The Secretary-General noted in his 2014 report on the responsibility to protect that
“Human Rights Council sessions and the universal periodic review process provide
opportunities to raise concerns about human rights violations that could constitute risk
factors for atrocity crimes and for conveying recommendations for corrective action.” He
also stressed that “the engagement of both special procedures mandate-holders of the
Human Rights Council and independent experts of the human rights treaty bodies provide
a vital mechanism for engaging in dialogue with States on human rights concerns and
atrocity crime risks.” In subsequent reports, the Secretary-General reiterated the
importance of the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms in the implementation of the

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Human Rights Council Intersessional panel discussion to mark the fifteenth anniversary of the responsibility to protect Theme: The responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, as enshrined in the 2005 World Summit Outcome Concept note Date and venue: 11 May 2021, 3 to 5 p.m. (Geneva time), Room XVII, Palais des Nations. Objective: The panel discussion will consist in an exchange of best practices on strengthening national policies and strategies to implement the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity through national mechanisms and other stakeholders. Chair: • H.E. Ms Keva Lorraine Bain, Permanent Representative of The Bahamas, VicePresident of the Human Rights Council Opening statements: • Ms Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commiss ...
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