Publications

17 Oct 2013
2014-2015 UN Security Council Elections and the Responsibility to Protect

The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect welcomes today's election of Chad, Chile, Lithuania, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia to the United Nations Security Council for 2014-2105. With the addition of Chile and Nigeria, 10 of the 15 members of the Security Council in 2014 are members of the Group of Friends of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P). It is our hope that they will use this opportunity to uphold their commitment to R2P and to take timely, preventive action to avert the horrors witnessed in Rwanda, Srebrenica and, more recently, Syria and Sudan.

Security Council members have a particular responsibility to ensure that populations are protected from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, regardless of where these crimes are occurring. To this end, the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect urges newly-elected Security Council members to:

• Hold a UN Department of Political Affairs Horizon Scanning briefing during their presidency to inform council members of situations where there is a serious risk of mass atrocity crimes;
• Request briefings from the UN Special Advisers on the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect, as well as relevant Special Rapporteurs on situations where populations are at risk;
• Uphold the preventive component of the Responsibility to Protect by taking early action to avert mass atrocity crimes, and be prepared to take timely and decisive action should those efforts fail;
• Support diplomatic initiatives aimed at restraining the use of the veto in mass atrocity situations by permanent members of the Security Council.

The Global Centre has compiled brief profiles on each of the newly-elected Security Council members. These provide an account of their engagement with R2P, including their participation at the UN General Assembly, whether they have appointed a national R2P Focal Point and their positions on ongoing country situations.

Other relevant background information includes their contribution to UN peacekeeping operations, their status with regard to the Genocide Convention, the Rome Statute to the ICC and the Arms Trade Treaty, as well as their affiliated groupings or bloc at the regional level and within the UN.

Following the election, Dr. Simon Adams, Executive Director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, remarked: "R2P is only ever as strong as the commitment of the UN member states who support it. Stopping mass atrocity crimes is fundamentally a question of political will. We welcome the election of these new UN Security Council members and call on them to consistently utilize their position to prevent atrocities and protect vulnerable populations."