07 Jul 2015
Workshop on the Responsibility to Protect in South Africa, July 2015

On 6 and 7 July 2015 the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) of South Africa, and in collaboration with the Institute for Global Dialogue and University of South Africa, organized a policy forum on the Responsibility to Protect and South Africa at DIRCO in Pretoria. The forum was opened by the Chief Operating Officer of DIRCO and attended by senior officials within the ministry and leading South African scholars of foreign policy.

The role of emerging powers in the prevention of mass atrocities and the implementation of R2P has generated substantive discussion in recent years. This is a symptom of an increasingly important trend in global affairs: the growing international clout of these emerging powers. As power in the global arena continues to become more diffuse, countries like South Africa, Brazil and India will play an increasingly critical role in the maintenance of international peace and security, which includes responding to inter- and intra-state crises where populations are threatened by the commission of mass atrocities. This is particularly evident for South Africa, which, as a leading regional power, is translating its growing clout to greater global influence.

At the meeting participants discussed the challenges in mobilizing capacities to build resilience to atrocities at national, regional and international levels to atrocity situations. Participants debated the necessity of the reform of the current structure of UN Security Council and on the need of greater monitoring of mandates that involve the use of force. The discussion in the morning also included debates about the Libyan intervention and the role of the International Criminal Court in preventing atrocity crimes. The session in the afternoon focused on South African foreign policy and its engagement with African regional organizations and the African Union. Participants identified gaps in capacities and advocated for a greater coordination and consultation between the UN and the African Union. Finally, participants exchanged ideas about how emerging powers can continue to engage in the development and implementation of R2P.