Resources

18 Oct 2012
UN General Assembly Debate on Implementing the Responsibility to Protect, 2009

On 23, 24 and 28 July 2009, the UN General Assembly held the first debate on R2P since heads of state and government adopted the doctrine in the World Summit Outcome Document in 2005. The debate was convened to discuss the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's report of January 2009, "Implementing the responsibility to protect."

The debate was an opportunity for all UN member states to engage in a constructive discussion on this report and also to signal commitment on how to address, in the words of the UN Secretary-General, the "gaps in capacity, will and imagination" necessary to turn R2P from words to deeds.

What emerged from the debate was a clear commitment from the vast majority of member states to be part of efforts to prevent and halt atrocity crimes. UN members were overwhelmingly positive about the core principles of the responsibility to protect doctrine. Only four countries – Venezuela, Cuba, Sudan and Nicaragua – sought to challenge the value of R2P and the membership's readiness to move forward on this agenda. Among the most common concern was that R2P should be implemented without selectivity or double standards, but as a few member states noted, no principle had withstood the test of perfect application and that it would be wrong to conclude that because the international community might not act everywhere, it should therefore act nowhere. Ultimately, there was strong support from governments in every region for the UN Secretary-General's call for a three-pillar strategy, the importance of early warning methods and the idea of "sovereignty as responsibility."

The debate led to the adoption of a consensus resolution sponsored by 67 countries, by the General Assembly on 14 September 2009. The resolution noted that the General Assembly received a report from the Secretary-General on the implementation of the Responsibility to Protect, held a constructive debate on the report and intends to continue to engage on the issue.

Official Statements
Opening Statement by Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann

Member States
Algeria
Andorra (French only)
Argentina (Spanish only)
Armenia
Australia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Bangladesh

Belgium
Benin
Bolivia
Bosnia-Herzegovina
Botswana
Brazil
Cameroon (French only)
Canada
Chile English / Spanish
China
Colombia English / Spanish
Costa Rica English / Spanish
Croatia
Cuba
Czech Republic
Ecuador (Spanish only)
France
Gambia
Germany
Ghana
Guatemala
Guinea-Bissau
Hungary
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Iran, Islamic Republic of
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Japan
Jordan (Arabic only)
Kazakhstan
Kenya
Korea, Democratic People's Republic of
Lesotho
Liechtenstein
Luxembourg English / French
Malaysia
Mali (French only)
Mexico (Spanish only)
Monaco
Morocco
Myanmar
The Netherlands
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Nigeria
Norway
Pakistan
Panama
Papua New Guinea
Peru (Spanish only)
The Philippines
Qatar
Romania
Russian Federation
Rwanda
San Marino
Serbia
Sierra Leone
Singapore
Slovakia
Slovenia
Solomon Islands
South Africa
South Korea
Sri Lanka
Sudan
Swaziland
Sweden
Switzerland English / French
Tanzania, United Republic of
Timor Leste
Turkey
United Kingdom
United States of America
Uruguay (Spanish only)
Venezuela
Vietnam

Regional Organizations
Sweden, on behalf of the European Union (EU)
Egypt, on the behalf of Non Aligned Movement (NAM)
Jamaica, on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)

Observer Missions
Holy See
Palestine