Work of the Office
- In line with the Office’s work on curbing incitement, the Office partnered with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression and the Permanent Mission of Norway to the United Nations to organise two high-level events on hate speech and incitement to genocide. The first event was held on 1 February 2013 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York and the second event was held at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC on 5 February. In both events, expert panellists explored the distinction between hate speech and incitement to violence, challenges and tools related to monitoring incitement to genocide and policy approaches and tools to address offensive speech that do not infringe on freedom of expression. They also discuss the ongoing challenge in reconciling protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression while combating incitement that could lead to genocide and other violence based on hatred.
- For the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust on 28 January 2013, Special Adviser Adama Dieng delivered a key note speech at a conference entitled “From Holocaust Education to the Prevention of Genocide: What have we learnt from the Past?” The event was organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); the Shoah Memorial Museum, the Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect and the Permanent Delegation of the Kingdom of Belgium to UNESCO. The Special Adviser spoke alongside Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO; Edward Kissi, Professor at the Department of Africana studies of the University of South Florida (United States of America/Ghana); Dan Michman, Historian and Director of the International Institute for Holocaust Research, Yad Vashem (Israel); Karen Pollock, Executive Director of the Holocaust Educational Trust (United Kingdom); and Samuel Pisar, writer and lawyer, Holocaust survivor, UNESCO Honorary Ambassador and Special Envoy for Holocaust Education. Special Adviser Dieng also joined the Director General of UNESCO and the President of Bulgaria in a wreath laying ceremony at the Shoah Memorial Museum to commemorate the Holocaust. In an interview, Mr. Dieng discussed the importance of Holocaust education with UNESCO’s Division of Public Information.
- On 17-18 December 2012, the Office participated in regional roundtable on the responsibility to protect in Broumana, Lebanon, convened by the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect and the Permanent Peace Movement for civil society organisations in the Middle East and North Africa. The seminar served as a forum to raise awareness about the responsibility to protect concept, highlight the relevance of the concept to situations in the region and learn from civil society on how the responsibility to protect relates to the existing work of their organisations. See the summary of the event.
- On 21 November 2012, the Office participated in the third expert-level meeting of the Task Force for the Improvement of the European Union’s Capabilities to Prevent Atrocity Crimes in Berlin, Germany. The Task Force presented a set of recommendations based on its analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Union in early warning, pre-crisis engagement, preventive diplomacy and response to atrocity crimes. Drawing on a review of best practices in this area, the findings were coupled with the insights from interviews with officials of EU institutions and Member States. The meeting built on roundtable discussions that took place in Brussels on 25 April and on 21 September where experts took stock of the EU’s current capabilities and practices in the domain of atrocity prevention.
- On 3-4 October, Special Adviser Adama Dieng participated in a Global Conference on incitement, hosted by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Rabat, Morocco. This event was the final seminar in a series of regional workshops on the prohibition of incitement to national, racial or religious hatred. Member States of the region, United Nations entities and specialised agencies, regional and sub-regional organisations and civil society in the region will participate in the workshop to address incitement and hate speech, as contained in international human rights law. See Mr. Dieng’s keynote remarks and the outcome document of the workshop.
- On 21 September 2012, the Office participated in an expert-level meeting in Paris, France of the Task Force for the Improvement of the European Union’s Capabilities to Prevent Atrocity Crimes. This meeting built on a roundtable discussion that took place in Brussels on 25 April where experts took stock of the EU’s current capabilities and practices in the domain of mass atrocities. At the 21 September meeting, experts discussed preliminary findings about the EU’s current capabilities, as well as gaps that could be filled, with regards to early warning, pre-crisis engagement, preventive diplomacy, intervention, and international cooperation to prevent mass atrocities. Executive summary of the meeting
- On 9-11 September 2012, the Office participated in an expert planning meeting in Washington, D.C. for a project aimed at improving international responses to genocide, coordinated by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM). This multi-year project seeks to improve the chances that genocide can in future be halted, deterred or otherwise prevented, based on a detailed study of international responses to genocidal violence. Key questions discussed include why past genocides were allowed to happen, how various key actors behaved before and during them, and whether different actions by any or all of them would likely have produced a different result. Experts will assist in determining the specific case studies to be examined and in shaping the project’s development.
- On 23-25 May 2012, Special Adviser Deng participated in a conference entitled “Can international intervention work?”, organised by the Ditchley Foundation and chaired by The Right Honourable Lord Malloch-Brown, Chair of the Royal African Society and former Minister of State for Africa, Asia and the United Nations. The conference, held in Oxford, United Kingdom, explored a number of examples of international intervention since the Second World War, including cases from Afghanistan, the Balkans, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Sierra Leone and Somalia. Participants also discussed the role of the UN Security Council in making decisions related to international intervention as well as whether international law in this area is sufficiently developed to be a reliable guide as to when and who should intervene.
- On 17-18 May 2012, Special Adviser Luck participated in a regional conference on the responsibility to protect hosted by the Asia-Pacific Centre on the Responsibility to Protect, the Australian Agency for International Development and Chulalongkorn University, in Bangkok, Thailand. The conference, entitled ‘Regional Capacity to Protect, Prevent and Respond: UN-Asia Pacific Strategy and Coordination’, brought together some 80 international and local participants from across the globe to discuss and debate on the principle of the responsibility to protect and its implementation. Following the conference, an outcome document was published which includes a summary of the discussions on the progress made in building consensus on the responsibility to protect, pillar III and sovereignty issues, “responsibility while protecting” and the role of regional organizations in promoting the responsibility to protect.
- On 26 April 2012, the Office participated in a workshop on “Operationalising the Responsibility to Protect” in Brussels, Belgium, organised by the Global Governance Institute, the Madariaga-College of Europe Foundation, the Global Action to Prevent War and the International Coalition on the Responsibility to Protect. The workshop brought together policy-makers from the European Union, the United Nations and regional organisations, scholars and civil society to debate the civilian and military challenges of the third (response) pillar of the responsibility to protect principle. Following a call for papers prior to the workshop, a policy brief was published and widely disseminated. The brief included policy recommendations on promoting dialogue with key member states and regional leaders; ensuring that the third pillar tool box is flexible, adaptable, complementary, effective and legitimate for timely and decisive action; linking civilian and military action; promoting training among civilian and military personnel on the responsibility to protect; and prioritizing consistency, complementarity and effectiveness in operationalising the third pillar.
- On 25 April 2012, the Office participated in a roundtable discussion in Brussels, Belgium, hosted by the Task Force for the Improvement of the European Union’s Capacities to Prevent Mass Atrocities and the Foundation for the International Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities. The meeting brought together leading experts in conflict and mass atrocities prevention and representatives of European Union institutions, Member States and civil society to take stock of the European Union’s current capabilities and practices in mass atrocity prevention and to discuss options for improving the warning-response linkage.
- On 23 April 2012, Special Adviser Francis Deng spoke at the second annual National Day of Remembrance and Action on Mass Atrocities, hosted by the Canadian All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Prevention of Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity in partnership with the Canadian Centre for International Justice in Ottawa, Canada. Conceived as a call to action, the event aimed to raise awareness and public interest in the ongoing struggle against present and future atrocities around the world. The event also examined Canada’s responsibility to past victims of mass atrocities by highlighting the urgent need to prevent and address ongoing threats.
- On 14-15 April 2012, Special Adviser Francis Deng participated in the Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa, in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. This year’s forum, entitled “African voices in the global security agenda”, was organized by the Institute for Peace and Security Studies. Two key themes were discussed, namely: (1) state fragility and the prospects of peace in Africa, with a focus on protracted conflict and regional response; and (2) managing diversity to promote peace and stability, focussing on the African Peer Review Mechanism and diversity governance as structural prevention.
- On 11 April 2012, Special Adviser Edward Luck participated in a ceremony to commemorate the Rwandan Genocide organized by the United Nations Department of Public Information in cooperation with the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Rwanda to the United Nations, in New York. The theme of this year’s commemoration was “Learning from history to shape a bright future.” Mr. Luck participated in the reading of letters from Rwandan orphans, widows and imprisoned genocidaires. Other speakers included the President of the General Assembly, the Deputy Secretary-General, the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Rwanda to the United Nations, the Chairperson of the African Group and the Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations.
- On 5 April 2012, the Office participated in a public briefing in New York entitled “Learning from history to shape a bright future,” in observance of the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Rwanda Genocide. Hosted by the United Nations Department of Public Information, the briefing aimed to facilitate the exchange of information and support the development of partnerships with civil society.
- On 13 March 2012, Mr. Deng provided a lunch-time briefing in The Hague for government officials from the Dutch Ministries of Foreign Affairs and National Defence, representatives from civil society organisations and academics. Mr. Deng spoke about his approach to his mandate and lessons learned during his assignment as Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide.
- On 1-2 March 2012, Special Adviser Francis Deng took part in a roundtable debate, hosted by the Dag Hammarskjold Foundation for its 50th anniversary celebrations. Alongside Martti Ahtisarri, Lakhdar Brahimi and Jan Eliasson, Mr. Deng discussed issues related to his mandate in the context of security, development, conflict prevention, mediation, post-conflict reconstruction and justice as well as other contemporary challenges confronting the international community.
- On 24-26 February 2012, the Office participated in a preparatory workshop in New York, USA, for the second meeting of the Responsibility to Protect Focal Points Network, co-convened by the Stanley Foundation and the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect.
- On 9 January 2012, Special Adviser Edward Luck participated as a panellist in a discussion on the “International Responsibility After Libya”, hosted by the Brookings-London School of Economics project on Internal Displacement in Washington, D.C., USA. On 10 January 2012, Mr. Luck participated in a panel discussion on “the Responsibility to Protect After Libya” in New York, USA, hosted by the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect.
- Special Adviser Edward Luck took part as keynote speaker at a meeting on operationalizing the Responsibility to Protect at the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict, at the University of Oxford (10 December 2011).
- The Office contributed to an international conference organized by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and hosted by the Geneva Centre for Security Policy. The conference brought together professionals with expertise in human rights, international humanitarian law, genocide, international courts, gender, refugee law, the arms trade, environmental law and UN institutions and mechanisms to discuss the intersection of these related topics (1 December 2011). Consideration was given to the Responsibility to Protect as a cross-cutting issue.
- Special Adviser Francis Deng lectured at the Italian Society for International Organizations (United Nations Association – Italy) and at the Guido Carli Free International University for Social Studies and provided a briefing to the Community of Sant’Egidio (21-24 November 2011).
- Special Adviser Edward Luck delivered the keynote address at the 44th Annual Sutton Colloquium at the University of Denver, Colorado, entitled “The Arab Spring and Its Unfinished Business: Law & Policy Issues” (5 November 2011).
- “Exploring new capacities to address the threat of atrocity crimes”, organized by the United Nations Information Service in Vienna, Austria (23 to 25 May 2011)
- On 12-13 May, 2011, the Office participated in a workshop entitled “Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities”, hosted by the Madariaga – College of Europe Foundation and the Folke Bernadotte Academy in Brussels, with the support of the Hungarian Presidency of the European Union, and in cooperation with the European External Action Service and the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office. See the final report of the workshop, including the Office’s contributions.
- Third Regional Forum on the Prevention of Genocide organized by the Governments of Argentina, Switzerland and Tanzania (4-6 April 2011)
- International Symposium on Preventing Genocide and Mass Atrocities, organized by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Mémorial de la Shoah, Paris, France (15 November 2010)
- Early Warning for Protection: Technologies and practise for the prevention of mass atrocity crimes, organized by Oxfam Australia and the Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, Phnom Penh, Cambodia (3-4 November 2010)
- “Dangerous speech on the road to genocide” at the UN Headquarters in New York (28 October 2010)
- Dag Hammarskjöld Lecture 2010 on “Idealism and Realism: Negotiating sovereignty in divided nations”, Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, Uppsala, Sweden (10 September 2010) Video of lecture
- Informal interactive dialogue of the UN General Assembly on "Early Warning, Assessment and the Responsibility to Protect", New York, United States of America (9 August 2010)
- Canadian All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Prevention of Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity, Ottawa, Canada (4 May 2010)
- Second Regional Forum on the Prevention of Genocide organized by the Governments of Argentina, Switzerland and Tanzania, Arusha, Tanzania (3-5 March 2010)
- Symposium on Unity and Self Determination, “Prospects for Reconciling Self-Determination with Unity in Sudan, Khartoum, Sudan (2 November 2009)
- Event to mark the 70th anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogrom, “Lessons Learned: Holocaust remembrance and combating anti-Semitism in 2008”, Hofburg, Vienna, Austria (10 November 2008)
Special Adviser Adama Dieng presenting at the International
Expert Meeting on Genocide, War Crimes, and Crimes against
Humanity, organized by INTERPOL on 20-22 November.
Photo credit: INTERPOL
- On 29 September, Special Adviser Dieng and the Office participated in the second meeting of the network of national responsibility to protect (RtoP) focal points, hosted by the Permanent Missions of Australia, Costa Rica, Denmark and Ghana, along with the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, in New York. The aim of this meeting was to learn from the experience to date of the national RtoP Focal Points who have already been appointed. The meeting was seen as a significant step towards strengthening the national architecture needed to realise the 2005 commitment to the responsibility to protect.
- On 28 September, Special Adviser Dieng participated in the fifth annual inter-ministerial meeting on the responsibility to protect, held during the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Organised by Botswana, Brazil, Denmark and the Netherlands, the meeting was attended by a cross-regional group of Foreign Ministers who shared ideas and discussed an array of issues related to the responsibility to protect, including different aspects of prevention.
- In the context of its work on the constructive management of diversity, the Office participate in a high-level meeting on civil society and education on human rights as a tool for promoting religious tolerance, hosted by the Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations and the Permanent Mission of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the United Nations, on 27 September in New York. Special Adviser Dieng delivered a key note address at the ministerial-level event of the meeting alongside High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navi Pillay, and UNESCO Director General, Ms. Irina Bokova. Webcast of the event
- Special Adviser Dieng participated in the high-level meeting on the rule of law on 24 September 2012 in New York. The event, opening the 67th General Assembly, included presentations by the Secretary-General, the President of the International Court of Justice, the President of the Security Council, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the Chair of the International Law Commission, Member States and Observers, as well as a number of representatives of non-governmental organisations active in the field of rule of law. Adopting a declaration proposed by the President of the General Assembly, world leaders and civil society representatives reaffirmed their commitment to the rule of law as the foundation of equitable State relations and building just and fair societies. In the context of the General Assembly, the Special Adviser held numerous bilateral meetings with Heads of State and Government and Foreign Ministers from around the world.
- On 11-13 May 2012, Mr. Deng and Mr. Luck participated in the Eighth Seminar for Special and Personal Representatives and Envoys of the UN Secretary-General, hosted by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) in Greentree, New York. The seminar served as a venue for senior staff from the UN Departments of Political Affairs, Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support as well as the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the United Nations Development Programme and other entities to discuss issues of importance for the implementation of their distinct mandates and with the aim of refining UN practice. Mr. Deng acted as Chair of the session entitled “Challenges and Emerging Threats to Mandate Implementation” which included a broad analysis of challenges, threats and proposed future direction and served as the overarching theme for the other seminar sessions.
- On 3 April 2012, Special Adviser Edward Luck participated in an informal meeting of Member States from Latin America and the Caribbean, hosted by the Permanent Mission of Chile to the United Nations. The meeting, entitled “The Responsibility to Protect: Looking into the Future”, explored challenges facing the Responsibility to Protect. Member States debated the need to address conceptual issues and deepen the global consensus, consolidate the principle through practice, mainstream the Responsibility to Protect within regional organisations and build capacities at the global, regional and national levels.
- On 21 February 2012, the Permanent Mission of Brazil to the United Nations hosted an informal discussion in the General Assembly of its paper on “Responsibility while protecting: elements for the development and promotion of a concept” (A/66/551-S/2011/701). The discussion was co-chaired by His Excellency Ambassador Anotonio de Aguiar Patriota, Minister of External Relations of Brazil, and by Special Adviser Edward Luck. Special Adviser Francis Deng also participated in the discussion. Mr. Luck’s opening remarks and Mr. Deng’s statement
- On 18 January 2012, Special Advisers Francis Deng and Edward Luck both participated in a high-level conference, entitled “R2P: The Next Decade” in New York, United States of America. Hosted by the Stanley Foundation in partnership with the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the MacArthur Foundation, the conference traced the course of the Responsibility to Protect through past experience and contemporary realities, and considered the prospects and challenges steering its evolution from political principle to policy doctrine into the next decade. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivered a keynote speech on making 2012 the “Year of Prevention”.
- On 8-9 December 2011, Special Adviser Edward Luck participated in an informal retreat in Tarrytown, United States of America on “The Responsibility to Protect after Libya”, hosted by the Netherlands Permanent Mission. Mr. Luck participated as an expert panellist to discuss progress and challenges for the Responsibility to Protect within the UN secretariat.
- On 23 September 2011, during the first week of the General Assembly, the Special Advisers participated in the Fourth Annual Ministerial Meeting on “Upholding the Responsibility to Protect: Responding to future threats of mass atrocities”, hosted by the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, in collaboration with the Foreign Ministries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Republic of Guatemala in New York. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon attended the meeting and delivered a statement. At the completion of the meeting the Global Centre, the Netherlands and Guatemala, issued a joint statement about the event.
- As part of the Office’s activities to commemorate the anniversary of the adoption of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, the Office hosted a brown bag lunch seminar on 7 December 2011 in New York for some 25 United Nations staff from the Departments of Political Affairs and Peacekeeping Operations as well as the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights and other relevant UN entities. Panellists included Alex Bellamy, Professor of International Security at the Griffith Asia Institute, and Dr. Felice Gaer, Director of the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights. The panellists discussed the structural risk factors that exist in all regions that could lead to a risk of genocide or related crimes and the legal norms and standards that may be invoked to strengthen the basis for taking action to prevent genocide and related crimes as well as how the United Nations could support Member States to effectively manage inter-group relations to reduce the risk of inter-ethnic conflicts, including the risk of genocide.
- On 6 October, the Office hosted a brown bag lunch seminar in New York for some 55 United Nations staff from the Departments of Political Affairs and Peacekeeping Operations as well as the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights and other relevant UN entities. Special Adviser Edward Luck presented an overview of the United Nations’ strategy for the further development and implementation of the Responsibility to Protect and discussed some of the challenges to its implementation.
Hate speech and incitement to genocide - panel discussion, 1 February 2013
Special Adviser Adama Dieng speaking at the
International Day of
Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust
on 28 January 2013 ©UNESCO/Emmanuel Rioufol
Special Adviser Adama Dieng speaking at the
International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the
Victims of the Holocaust
on 28 January 2013 ©UNESCO/Emmanuel Rioufol
Special Adviser Adama Dieng presenting at the International
Expert Meeting on Genocide, War Crimes,
and Crimes against
Humanity, organized by INTERPOL on 20-22 November
Brownbag Lunch Series
On 28-30 March 2012, the Office participated in the launch of the Latin American Network for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention. This Network has been established under the leadership of Argentina (Secretariat for Human Rights of the Ministry of Justice, Department of Human Rights of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship), Brazil (Secretariat of Human Rights at the Office of the President), and the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation. This network, comprising 18 participating States, aims to develop a community of genocide prevention-sensitive civil servants and to contribute to regional dialogue on individual and collective efforts for the prevention of genocide and mass atrocity crimes in the region and beyond. The Office endorsed the initiative and proposed options to strengthen regional cooperation on this matter.
In November 2012, the Office collaborated with the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation to provide training to support the Latin American Network for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocity Crimes in Buenos Aires, Argentina and in Montevideo, Uruguay. See more information about this training seminar.