UN Security Council Elections for 2019-2020 and the Responsibility to Protect

8 June 2018

Today, 8 June 2018, the United Nations General Assembly elected Belgium, Dominican Republic, Germany, Indonesia and South Africa to the UN Security Council for 2019-2020. With their election, 9 of the 15 members of the Council in 2019 will be “Friends of the Responsibility to Protect” – having appointed an R2P Focal Point and/or joined the Group of Friends of R2P in New York and Geneva.

The global displacement of civilians due to conflict, mass atrocities and persecution is at its highest level since the end of the Second World War. As the UN body responsible for maintaining international peace and security, the Security Council must ensure that populations in every country are protected from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

Since 2005 the Security Council has adopted 70 resolutions and 21 Presidential Statements that refer to the Responsibility to Protect, including with regard to Central African Republic, South Sudan, Syria and eight other country situations. It is our hope that the Security Council will consistently uphold their commitment to R2P by taking early preventive action to avert emerging crises and halt atrocities wherever they are threatened.

To this end, the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect encourages all Security Council members to:

    • Request briefings from the UN Secretary-General’s 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.
    • Raise awareness and generate timely responses to crises, including through convening “Arria formula meetings” on country situations that are not on the Council’s formal agenda, regularly using “Any Other Business,” and coordinating Security Council visiting missions to countries or regions where mass atrocity risks are evident.
    • Reaffirm the Security Council’s commitment to preventing mass atrocities by establishing a Security Council Working Group on R2P.
    • Adhere to the ACT Code of Conduct by which Council members commit to take timely and decisive action to protect civilians and not vote against any credible resolution aimed at preventing mass atrocities.
    • Support international justice mechanisms and ensure all perpetrators of mass atrocities are held to account, regardless of position or affiliation.
    • Ratify or accede to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

The Global Centre has compiled basic profiles on each of the newly-elected Security Council members. These provide an overview of their engagement with R2P, including whether they have appointed an R2P Focal Point, their respective contributions to UN peacekeeping operations, and their status with relevant international legal regimes, including the Genocide Convention and Arms Trade Treaty.

Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect


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Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect

Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies
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