On 11 September 2013 the United Nations (UN) General Assembly held a successful fifth Interactive Dialogue on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P). The Interactive Dialogue addressed the UN Secretary-General’s fifth report on R2P, entitled “State responsibility and prevention.”
Sixty-eight member states, one regional organization and two civil society organizations, including the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, made interventions. The dialogue remains one of the most popular UN General Assembly discussions with ten more states participating in 2013 than in 2012.
The interventions were overwhelmingly positive with a number of states using the dialogue as a forum to outline steps that they are taking domestically to prevent mass atrocities. Eighteen states, including Australia, Belgium, Botswana, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Czech Republic, Denmark, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Montenegro, New Zealand, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Togo and the United Kingdom, referred to their appointment of an R2P Focal Point, an initiative of the governments of Australia, Costa Rica, Denmark and Ghana in collaboration with the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect.
Almost every member state expressed concern about the dire situation in Syria and noted that it was a glaring example of the failure of preventive efforts. A number of states, including Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, France, Hungary, Lichtenstein, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland, raised the need for there to be a restraint on the use of the veto within the UN Security Council.
As one of the closing speakers, Dr. Simon Adams, in his statement on behalf of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, called upon each member state to “rededicate itself to mobilizing political will to prevent, to protect and to act,” particularly as we approach the twentieth anniversary of the Rwandan genocide and the third anniversary of Syria’s tragedy.
The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect will be releasing a summary of the interactive dialogue shortly. To see a summary of the Secretary-General’s report and for more information about the debate, please see our webpage dedicated to the dialogue.