It is my privilege to speak on behalf of the Steering Group of the Global Network of R2P Focal Points whose members come from Australia, Ghana, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Slovenia and my own country, Denmark.
R2P Focal Points today exist in 61 countries, the European Union and the Organisation of American States. An R2P Focal Point is a senior official who facilitates the implementation of the responsibility to protect across all three pillars to strengthen atrocity prevention at the national, regional and international level.
The work of an R2P Focal Point and an active membership in the Global Network can help to translate our 2005 commitment into concrete action for prevention. We therefore look forward to the next meeting of our Network, which will be hosted by the OAS.
Chair, national R2P Focal Points do know that atrocity prevention is a difficult and complex task. Hence, we welcome last year’s historic HRC resolution on R2P and this intersessional as a process that enables us to address these issues in Geneva. We also invite States to support the draft resolution on R2P, which will be presented next week in New York.
The Human Rights Council and its mechanisms have a crucial role to play in the prevention of atrocity crimes, and R2P Focal Points can contribute to this work. One concrete example for this is the UPR. Focal Points can add their atrocity prevention expertise to the drafting of their own country’s national report and of its recommendations towards other countries. Focal Points can identify atrocity risks and help lay the basis for strengthening national efforts and international collaboration to address these risks. We encourage others to use their R2P Focal Point in the UPR process and welcome further exchanges on this matter.
We are acutely aware that more can and needs to be done to prevent atrocity crimes. At this moment, in many countries, men, women and children are suffering unimaginable atrocities. We therefore welcome ongoing efforts to strengthen the implementation of the prevention mandate of the Council. We call on the Council and its members to regularly consult with the UN Office on Genocide Prevention and R2P and to employ the UN Framework of Analysis for Atrocity Crimes to help identify the upstream drivers of atrocity risks, such as the uptick in hate speech and incitement to violence and hate crimes we are witnessing during the COVID-19 pandemic and address relevant country situations where circumstances might escalate to the commission of a mass atrocity crime.
We would also like to emphasise the key role of civil society in this undertaking. While it is the responsibility of states to protect populations against atrocity crimes, civil society provides states and R2P Focal Points with important insights – and tirelessly reminds us to keep the promise we made in 2005. In this context, we want to thank the Global Centre for R2P for its invaluable support as Secretariat to the Global Network of R2P Focal Points.
We invite others to join us by appointing an R2P Focal Point. We look forward to working with you in the Global Network and here at the Human Rights Council on effectively implementing our responsibility to protect.