The Government of the State of Qatar, in association with the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, co-hosted the seventh annual meeting of the Global Network of R2P Focal Points in Doha, Qatar, from 24 to 25 April. This was the first meeting of the Global Network to take place in the Middle East region.
The meeting brought together senior government officials from more than 40 countries as well as representatives from the European Union and United Nations, including the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, Mr. Ivan Simonovic. During the meeting the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Coordination, Mr. Fabrizio Hochschild, also addressed the R2P Focal Points via video.
During the two-day meeting participants discussed challenges and opportunities for accountability for mass atrocity crimes, the global rise in hate speech and xenophobia, and the refugee crisis, as well as their collective impact upon efforts to prevent and halt genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The interactive meeting gave R2P Focal Points an opportunity to exchange lessons learned from their own experiences regarding their government’s approach to mass atrocity prevention.
More than a quarter of the UN membership has joined the Global Network, with 58 states and the European Union having appointed a senior government official to serve as a R2P Focal Point. Dr. Simon Adams, Executive Director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, noted that, “in these times of global crisis, with tens of millions of people displaced by conflict, persecution and atrocities, we need to close the gap between words and deeds and defend international human rights and humanitarian law.” Dr. Adams emphasized the significance of holding the meeting of the Global Network in the Middle East, stating that “we want to expand the conversation around how all states can help prevent atrocities and uphold their responsibilities at home and abroad.”
The meeting concluded with the R2P Focal Point from Finland announcing that her country will be hosting the eighth annual meeting of the Global Network in Helsinki during 2018.