From 20 to 24 June 2022, alongside the annual UN General Assembly Debate on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect organized a week of programming to highlight R2P in New York and around the world.
On 23 and 24 June, the UN General Assembly held a plenary meeting on “The Responsibility to Protect and the prevention of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity” as part of the formal agenda of its 76th session. The meeting opened with introductory remarks by the UN Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, Alice Wairimu Nderitu. During the debate 61 states, one observer mission and the European Union spoke on behalf of 91 countries, including a statement by the Permanent Representative of Costa Rica on behalf of the Group of Friends of R2P. Ahead of the debate the UN Secretary-General released his 14th annual report on R2P, entitled “Responsibility to Protect: Prioritizing Children and Young People.”
On 21 June, together with the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice, the Global Centre hosted an event entitled, “Quo Vadis? The Prosecution of Atrocity Crimes from Myanmar to Ukraine.” In the 20 years since the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) entered into force on 1 July 2002, conflicts around the world have proliferated, the scale of atrocity crimes has grown and impunity for these crimes persists. Conflicts in Myanmar (Burma), Ethiopia, Syria, Yemen and, most recently, Ukraine have prompted renewed discussions on the effectiveness of the international criminal justice system to deter atrocity crimes and hold perpetrators to account.
Remarks were delivered by H.E. Mr. Ivan Šimonović, Permanent Representative of Croatia to the UN; Ms. Akila Radhakrishnan, President of the Global Justice Center; Ms. Karen Mosoti, Head of the Liaison Office of the International Criminal Court to the UN; Mr. M. Arsalan Suleman, Counsel at Foley Hoag LLP and Counsel for The Gambia in its case against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice; Ms. Katherine Gallagher, Senior Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights; and our Executive Director, Ms. Savita Pawnday.
On 22 June the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect, which the Global Centre serves as Secretariat for, hosted a meeting on the role of children and youth in atrocity prevention, featuring a panel of youth activists working in the field of mass atrocity prevention. The UN Secretary-General’s 2022 report on R2P, entitled “Responsibility to Protect: Prioritizing Children and Young People,” highlights the impact of atrocities on children and youth, as well as their role in atrocity prevention. During this event, held on the margins of the UN General Assembly plenary meeting on R2P, expert panelists shed light on the unique risks faced by children and youth, as well as provided cross-regional insights on how youth can play a more prominent role in building societal resilience against cycles of atrocities.
Remarks were delivered by Ms. Savita Pawnday, Executive Director of the Global Centre for R2P, on behalf of the International Coalition for R2P; Mr. George Okoth-Obbo, UN Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect; Ms. Adrianne Lapar, Director of Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict; Ms. Nyon Nyin Toh, Asia-Pacific Youth Core Group on Atrocity Prevention; Mr. Khaled Emam, Executive Director of Justice Call and Organizing Partner of the UN Major Group for Children and Youth; Ms. Kessy Ekomo Soignet, local Peacebuilding expert in the Central African Republic; and Mr. Detmer Kremer, Policy and Communications Officer of Protection Approaches. Ms. Jaclyn Streitfeld-Hall, Director of Policy and Research of the Global Centre for R2P, moderated the event.