I have the honour of delivering this statement on behalf of the Group of Friends of the Responsibility to Protect, consisting of 55 Member States and the European Union, and this year co-chaired by Croatia, Guatemala and Morocco.
We thank the Secretary-General for his report on the work of the Organization and briefing on his priorities for 2024. We were pleased to see that prevention and addressing the risks of atrocity crimes are recognized under key objectives in the report.
We remain strongly committed to combating impunity and promoting justice and accountability as these are key components of R2P. To this end, in 2023, the Group of Friends participated in various debates in the Security Council, during the special meeting of ECOSOC on “Social and economic measures to prevent genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity”, and at the annual debate on the Responsibility to Protect in the General Assembly.
We firmly believe that atrocity prevention and the effective implementation of the Responsibility to Protect agenda contributes to fulfilling the Secretary-General’s Our Common Agenda and New Agenda for Peace. In this context, the United Nations have an important role to play in conflict and atrocity prevention and the peaceful settlement of disputes, including by using preventive diplomacy, fact finding and reporting, and the provision of good offices, mediation and dialogue facilitation in response to risks of conflicts and atrocity crimes.
The Secretary-General’s annual thematic reports on R2P have been incredibly important to broadening our collective understanding of R2P. The international community would benefit from receiving from the United Nations information on current trends of risks of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing and their prevention. It is for this reason that the Group of Friends of R2P, and some additional Member States, have called for the inclusion of such information in future SG reports, as well as recommendations for responses on national, regional and global levels. We also encourage the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide and the Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, once appointed, to continue to raise situations where there are risks of atrocities through their joint public statements.
Furthermore, the Group of Friends would like to reiterate its call to consider following-up on the implementation of recommendations contained in previous reports more regularly and systematically, and possibly in the form of an annex to the yearly reports. We strongly believe that this will strengthen the reports and enhance the protection of vulnerable populations at risk of atrocity crimes.
Lastly, we reiterate that it is critical that the UN Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect is able to operate at full strength with the conceptual and practical guidance of a Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect. Therefore, we look forward to the appointment of a new Special Adviser on R2P, as soon as possible. In the same vein, the Group highlights the need to ensure that existing resources, particularly appropriate allocation of funds related to administrative support, travel and staffing, are dedicated to the new Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect.
The Group of Friends looks forward to working closely with the next Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, with expectations that they will be able to perform their mandates with ease and appropriate professional support that will enable a longer tenure than that of their predecessors. The Group of Friends also looks forward to continuing to engage with and to support the work of the UN Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect.
I thank you, Mr President