WHAT: A Multi-stakeholder Online Forum organized by UNESCO and OSAPG on addressing hate speech through education. It will bring together government representatives, renowned scholars, teachers/educators, youth and human rights experts, technology companies and artists, to unpack the role of education vis-à-vis the hate speech phenomenon.
WHO: United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect and UNESCO
WHEN: 30 September 2021 – 1 October 2021
RSVP: To attend this public event please register on the link below as soon as possible as there are limited places: REGISTER HERE. For any inquires please contact the Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org. More info about addressing hate speech through education by UNESCO, here.
Global Pledge for Action by Religious Actors and Faith-Based Organizations to Address the COVID-19 Pandemic in Collaboration with the United Nations
Virtual Event during the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development
On 7 July 2021, the UN Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect (OSAPG), the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), with the co-sponsorship of the Permanent Missions to the United Nations of the Kingdom of Morocco and the Republic of Croatia, and Religions for Peace organized a virtual event during the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development around the Global Pledge for Action by Religious Actors and Faith-Based Organizations to Address the Covid-19 Pandemic. 109 participants joined the discussion, which based on the compilation of peer-to-peer learning snapshots, took stock of and advocated for further implementation of the Global Pledge for Action. Participants shared experiences of faith-based actors’ engagement at the grassroots level in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts, in particular hate speech and its ramifications. They also explored challenges and opportunities encountered so far in the implementation of the Global Pledge and options for further action and collaboration.
The purpose of the side event was to discuss the implementation of the Global Pledge for Action, which came as a response to the UN Secretary-general's global appeal to address COVID-19 related hate speech in May of 2020. To translate the Global Pledge for Action into specific actions for further collaboration and partnership between the UN and faith actors, OSAPG, UNAOC, and OHCHR organized 6 thematic webinars from December 2020 until May 2021. These webinars were peer-to-peer learning exchanges which focused on gender equality, COVID-19 related hate speech, the safeguarding of religious sites, the protection of religious or belief minorities, the prevention of atrocity crimes, and religious discourse, each within the frame of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 7 July 2021 virtual event opened a space for further discussion on best practices, challenges, and recommendations for implementing the Global Pledge for Action.
Participants discussed the key role of religious leaders in preserving humanity and making societies safer, more inclusive, resilient, and united, not only for places of worship but for the whole world. Religious leaders and actors serve as a primary source of support, comfort, guidance and social service for the societies and communities they serve. They have the ability to galvanize international and collective support, both in the fight against the pandemic as well in addressing and countering hate speech, discrimination and disinformation. It is key that religious leaders act collaboratively in a human rights-based approach and several participants stressed that the ‘Fez Plan of Action’ and the ’Faith for Rights’ provides that framework for everyone to work together.
Participants also noted that interfaith dialogue can help foster greater inclusivity and understanding. Non-theistic and atheistic believers as well as religious or belief minorities should also be included in conversations.
Moreover, they discussed the opportunity of COVID-19 recovery plans and process to build back better in the framework of the SDGs. Indeed, a key lesson of the pandemic was that “building back better” requires human rights and human rights mechanisms to be at the heart of the recovery.
In addition, participants highlighted the importance of continuing to engage with grassroots organizations and amplify their voices on the global stage. They also agreed that youth mobilization can fight perceptions and biases to promote acceptance and inclusion and stressed the role of women and women’s organizations in the COVID-19 context and their engagement with UN human rights mechanisms.
The implementation of the Global Pledge may contribute to building an inclusive and effective path to sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that promotes the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development, in particular for the achievement of SDGs 10, 16 and 17, and ultimately to the prevention of atrocity crimes.
Intersessional Panel Discussion on the 15th Anniversary of the Responsibility to Protect
On 24 July 2020, the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 44/14 on the 15th anniversary of the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, as enshrined in the 2005 World Summit Outcome. In this resolution, the Council decided to convene an intersessional panel discussion to mark this anniversary before its 47th session in June and July 2021.
The panel discussion was held on 11 May 2021 and consisted of an exchange of best practices on strengthening national policies and strategies to implement the responsibility to protect through national mechanisms and other stakeholders. Read more on the event here.
The United Nations Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, Karen Smith, gave opening remarks. Read the full transcript here.
26 March 2021
Countering hate speech and fostering peaceful and inclusive communities in Pakistan: the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibilty to Protect joins hands with the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan
Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Ms. Alice Warimu Nderitu, stressed that societies that accepted diversity and considered it as an asset, fostering inclusivity of all groups without discrimination, were more likely to be peaceful and stable from a human, social and economic perspective. She added that despite efforts made by many countries to achieve Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, the growing phenomenon of hate speech, including online, was threatening progress made in advancing peace and inclusivity globally. Emphasizing that the COVID-19 pandemic had compounded hate speech trends, the Special Adviser highlighted that too many times, minority groups or those who were perceived to be different were the targets and victims of hate speech and were scapegoated for challenges faced by communities or countries. Hate speech had also the potential to exacerbate underlying social and economic inequalities, aggravate drivers of violence, undermine social cohesion, trigger social unrest and violence and even be an indicator of the risk of atrocity crimes, she continued. Referring to the UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech, the Special Adviser Nderitu emphasized that combating hate speech was a multi-stakeholders endeavour. Governments, in particular, have an obligation to protect minorities.
The President of Pakistan, His Excellency Mr. Arif Alvi, opened the webinar stressing the importance of using forgiveness as a framework for building human relationships and continuing fighting for the equality of all human beings, independently on any identity factors. He also stated that hate speech should have no standing in Pakistan and that laws isolating communities ought to be repealled.
Speakers included national and international experts, practitioners and academic, as well as representatives of ethnic and religious minorities including Ba’hais, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus Kalasha, Parsis and Sikhs. The webinar also had a strong focus on Pakistani youth as agents of positive transformation to create and sustain real models of inclusive, peaceful, and respectful societies. A special role was played by women and young women, who represented most of the speakers. Special Adviser Nderitu called the Pakistani youth to be humanist, stand up against discrimination and hate, build inclusion, and embrace education and knowledge.
Ms. Nderitu announced that the series of webinars would result in a manual to counter hate speech and build peaceful and inclusive societies and pledged continued support to the Higher Education Commission to counter and adress hate speech and foster human dignity.
The virtual event was attended by some 200 people, including university students and faculty members from public and private universities in Pakistan.
CSW65: Strengthening women’s role front and center of atrocity prevention
On 18 March, the Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect organized a virtual side event as part of the 65th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, “Strengthening women’s role front and center of atrocity prevention” alongside the UN Permanent Missions of Belgium, Canada, Uruguay and Botswana. Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Alice Wairimu Nderitu, gave opening remarks and the Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, Karen Smith, closed the session.
11 March 2021
MEDIA ADVISORY: 65th Commission on the Status of Women
Strengthening women’s role front and centre of atrocity prevention
A virtual side event organized by the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, UN Women, the Permanent Mission of Belgium to the United Nations, the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations and the Permanent Mission of Uruguay to the United Nations
WHAT: Virtual side-event WHO: United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, UN Women, the Permanent Mission of Belgium to the United Nations, the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations and the Permanent Mission of Uruguay to the United Nations. WHEN: Thursday 18 March 2021, 11:30am – 1pm EST REGISTRATION LINK:register here: https://forms.gle/BCSgynaumD95mCsW7 Media advisory in pdf format
On the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the General Assembly’s unanimous adoption of the responsibility to protect (2005) and the 20th anniversary of the adoption of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security, the twelfth report of the United Nations Secretary-General on the responsibility to protect, "Prioritizing prevention and strengthening response: women and the responsibility to protect " issued in July 2020, places a focus on gender equality and the various roles that women can play in supporting prevention of atrocity crimes (genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing) as well as their protection from the risk thereof.
As highlighted in the report, all four crimes and violations associated with the responsibility to protect can have a gendered impact. For example, widespread or systematic sexual violence may constitute atrocity crimes. Also, the indicators of risk can have gender dimension. For instance, gender-based hate speech, that is embedded in gendered stigmas and stereotypes, can be a precursor of incitement to violence both in peaceful and conflict contexts. Moreover, while in many parts of the world women are already displaying immense leadership in conflict and atrocity prevention, they often remain excluded and marginalized from many areas of decision making and face severe protection challenges.
Hence, to advance the effective implementation of the responsibility to protect and build synergies with the women, peace and security agenda, it is vital to recognize and strengthen women’s role front and centre of atrocity prevention and identify remaining obstacles thwarting women’s meaningful role and leadership in prevention.
Against this background, the Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, UN Women, and the Permanent Mission of Belgium to the United Nations, the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations and the Permanent Mission of Uruguay to the United Nations will convene a virtual side event during the 65th session of the Commission on the Status of Women. Building on the recommendations of the 2020 report of the Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect, the event will provide a space to discuss key challenges and opportunities to enhance the protection of women and girls from atrocity crimes and to support women leadership in atrocity prevention at the local, national and regional level. Panellists will include high-level representatives as well as representatives of civil society, including women peacebuilders.
Special Adviser Alice Wairimu Nderitu participated in an event on the occasion of the Day of the Righteous of Humanity. In her remarks, the Special Adviser honored Dag Hammarskjöld (1905-1961), UN Secretary-General Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
5 March 2021
Development Dialogues: Rethinking Solutions to Crisis in the Decade of Action
Preventing Atrocity Crimes: The Role of Countering and Addressing Hate Speech
The Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect hosted with UNDP an event to raise awareness about the importance of addressing and countering hate speech as a way to build societies resilient to the risk of violence, including violent extremism and atrocity crimes – genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. It showcased several multi-stakeholder initiatives implemented by the UN and its partners in line with the UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech . Civil society organizations in the field also presented their prevention initiatives, demonstrating how they are effectively combating hate speech at the grassroots level.
Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Alice Wairimu Nderitu, and UNDP’s Assistant Administrator Asako Okai gave opening remarks. UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, Fernand de Varennes, moderated a fruitful dialogue with participants from the UN and civil society organisations in the field working to address and counter hate speech.
The United Nations Development Programme and UN Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect (OSAPG) invite you to join a discussion featuring experience from UN and civil society partners from across different regions at the forefront of countering and addressing hate speech. This event is part of “UNDP Development dialogues: Rethinking solutions to crisis in the decade of action.”
In response to current alarming trends of growing xenophobia, racism and intolerance, violent misogyny, anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim hatred around the world, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres launched the UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech on 18 June 2019. Hate speech is a menace to democratic values, social stability and peace. Tackling hate speech is also crucial to deepen progress across the United Nations agenda by helping to build societies resilient to the risk of violence including violent extremism and atrocity crimes - genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Mali: OSAPG support to MINUSMA’s intercommunal dialogues
In line with its mandate and as part of its prevention efforts in Mali, the United Nations Office of the Special Advisers on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect (OSAPG) in collaboration with the Civil Affairs Division of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and a local NGO implementing partner, known as Imadel, developed grass-root led dialogues, aiming for a high-degree of ownership by the communities involved in achieving a sustainable reconciliation and conflict resolution. The Office supported five dialogues - one for each intercommunal conflict identified - which aimed to promote reconciliation through agreements and discussions addressing grievances, to reestablish communication between affected communities as well as to restore social cohesion and resilience. The five dialogues made significant progress in restoring communication between communities and social cohesion in areas deeply affected by violence along ethnic lines. Reestablishing relations by putting in place mechanisms to address future grievances is an important for the prevention of future violence and potential atrocity crimes. OSAPG will continue to support such efforts as it is crucial to continue to build on these efforts in order to stabilize the restored peace and expand these “islands” of restored intercommunal relations.
The event marks the 72nd anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime.
Panel discussion: UN 75: Lessons learned, opportunities and challenges of international justice, including criminal justice and reparations for victims of the crime of genocide
10 November 2020
Secretary-General appoints Ms. Alice Wairimu Nderitu of Kenya as Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced today the appointment of Alice Wairimu Nderitu of Kenya as Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide. She succeeds Adama Dieng of Senegal, to whom the Secretary-General has expressed deep gratitude for his dedicated leadership and achievements. The Secretary-General also wishes to extend his appreciation to Navamanee Ratna (Pramila) Patten, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, who has been serving as Acting Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide.
Ms. Nderitu has been a recognized voice in the field of peacebuilding and violence prevention, having led as mediator and senior adviser in reconciliation processes among communities in her country, Kenya, as well as in other African settings. She served as Commissioner of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission in Kenya (2009-2013) as well as Founding Member and co-Chair of the Uwiano Platform for Peace, a prevention agency linking early warning to early response in Kenya. She is also the founder of Community Voices for Peace and Pluralism, a network of African women professionals preventing, transforming and solving violent, ethnic, racial and religious conflicts worldwide.
Ms. Nderitu’s national experience includes serving as Director, Education for Social Justice at Fahamu (2007-2009), Head of Human Rights Education and Capacity-Building Programme for the Kenya National Human Rights Commission and its predecessor body the Standing Committee on Human Rights (1999-2007) as well as Researcher and Administrator, Kenya Prisons Services, Ministry of Home Affairs (1992-1999). She serves as Member of the Kenya National Committee on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity and all Forms of Discrimination, the African Union’s Network of African Women in Conflict Prevention and Mediation (Fem-Wise), and the Women Waging Peace Network.
Ms. Nderitu holds a Master of Armed Conflict and Peace Studies (2013) and a Bachelor of Arts, Literature and Philosophy (1990) from the University of Nairobi. She is a Transitional Justice Fellow, Institute for Justice and Reconciliation in South Africa. She is widely published and is the recipient of awards recognizing her commitment to peaceful resolution of conflicts throughout Africa and innovative approach to mediation.
6 October 2020
NEW: United Nations Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech: Detailed Guidance on Implementation for United Nations Field Presences
In September 2020, the OSAPG launched a Detailed Guidance on the Implementation of the UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech for field presences. The Detailed Guidance provides recommendations on how to implement the 13 commitments set out in the UN Strategy as well as options for action that the United Nations can take in field contexts, building on existing tools and programmes, as well as good practices from within the United Nations system and other partners. The Detailed Guidance is available here .
5 October 2020
High-level virtual panel discussion: “Fifteen years of the Responsibility to Protect - a collective commitment to humanity”
Bringing together eminent experts involved in the development and implementation of the responsibility to protect from different regions of the world, this event will provide an opportunity to mark the significance of the historic adoption of the principle as well as to consider how we can best contribute to future efforts to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.
The event will be moderated by the Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, Ms. Karen Smith. Ms. Smith will invite the panelists to reflect on the progress achieved over the past fifteen years; on existing challenges in advancing the operationalization of the principle as well as on opportunities to overcome such challenges. Remarks will also be given by Pramila Patten, Acting Special Adviser on Genocide Prevention and Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict and Chef de Cabinet, Ambassador Tegan Brink on behalf of the President of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Volkan Bozkir.
Mr. Jan Eliasson, former Deputy-Secretary-General of the United Nations and President of the 60th session of the General Assembly.
Mr. Juan E. Mendez, Professor of Human Rights Law in Residence at WCL/American University and former Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide and to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.
Ms. Liberata Mulamula, former Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary of Tanzania and former Executive Secretary of International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).
Mr. Donald Deya, Chief Executive Officer of the Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU) and Chair of the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect (ICRtoP).
Ms. Savita Pawnday, Deputy Executive Director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect.
16 September 2020
15th anniversary of the responsibility to protect
Fifteen years ago, the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity was unanimously adopted by all Heads of State and Government at the United Nations World Summit.
To mark this 15th anniversary, the Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect is launching a dedicated webpage with a focus on what the responsibility to protect is at its core and on why it is more relevant than ever to reaffirm the collective commitment to protect populations from atrocity crimes and prevent their incitement.
The dedicated webpage also clarifies existing misconceptions about the responsibility to protect and suggests key priorities for the future, including enhancing efforts to prevent; upholding justice and accountability; embracing multilateralism and defending global norms and standards.
See a video statement with the Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect
4 September 2020
PRIORITIZING PREVENTION AND STRENGTHENING RESPONSE: WOMEN AND THE RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT
While the importance of gender equality and the participation of women across United Nations agendas has been made evident in recent years, the link with the responsibility to protect has been more implicit. The 2020 report of the Secretary-General on the responsibility to protect aims to address this gap by reflecting on the varied roles that women can play in supporting the prevention and protection of atrocity crimes.
The report outlines practical steps that can be taken by Member States, intergovernmental bodies and the United Nations system to strengthen gender equality and promote women's equal and meaningful participation, protection and rights. It begins by outlining the connection between gender equality and the effective implementation of the responsibility to protect. It goes on to emphasize the important role of women as actors for prevention. Lastly, the conclusions identify steps that can be taken to improve atrocity prevention and assessment at the national and regional levels. These include developing gender-specific indicators in national and regional early warning frameworks; implementing measures to address and counter gendered hate speech and incitement; increasing efforts to end impunity, including for sexual and gender-based atrocity crimes; and building capacity to increase the participation of women in political life, as mediators in peace processes, as well as to include the views of women in peace and security initiatives.
Words Matter: A Crash Course on Stomping Out Hate Speech
Words Matter: a Crash Course in Stomping Out Hate Speech
In cooperation with the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect (OSAPG)
Online, 7-31 October 2020 Application deadline : 4 October 2020
Hate speech is a growing phenomenon across the world. As a manifestation of intolerance and hatred towards certain groups in society, hate speech is intertwined with hate crimes and discrimination, representing a threat to sustainable peace and social cohesion.
Because of the impact hate speech has both on victims and societies at large, it is of utmost importance to address and counter it in a comprehensive way, from the individual to the State level. Despite growing attention to hate speech, many still underestimate or do not fully grasp the consequences of it.
The course is intended for university and post-graduate students, PhD candidates, media and other professionals, including United Nations (UN) personnel, as well as anyone interested in gaining an understanding of hate speech, how it manifests itself and what tools are available to combat it.
United Nations Guidance Note on Addressing and Countering COVID-19 related Hate Speech
On 11 May 2020, the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide released a ‘Guidance Note on Addressing and Countering COVID-19 related Hate Speech (English | French )’. The guidance note follows the Secretary-General’s global appeal to address and counter hate speech on 8 May 2020 and builds on the UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech. It provides recommendations to Member States, civil society, media and other relevant stakeholders for addressing and countering COVID-19-related hate speech.
9 December 2019
International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime
On 9 December 2019, the Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to protect organized an event to mark the 71st anniversary of the adoption of the Genocide Convention and the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime.
The event also served to open the exhibition entitled “Champions of Prevention”. The exhibition portrayed individuals and organizations across the world who have been assuming the responsibility to take positive action to promote a culture of peace and non-violence that includes the respect for diversity and non-discrimination, thus contributing to building resilient societies to the risk of genocide and other international crimes. Watch the event.
23 September 2019
European Union grants more than $550,000 to the United Nations
Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect
United Nations, New York, 23 September 2019. The European Commission’s Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI) has granted more than $ 550,000 to the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect.
This contribution supports the implementation of a project that aims to advance the prevention of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity (atrocity crimes) globally. With this grant, the European Commission supports multilateralism and stands firmly with the United Nations to prevent conflict and sustain peace.
Mrs. Hilde Hardeman, Head of the Service for Foreign Policy Instruments of the European Commission and Under-Secretary-General Adama Dieng, Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, today signed an agreement in New York on this financial contribution.
The goal of this 18-month project is to develop and disseminate guidelines for practitioners on the prevention of atrocity crimes. This will entail the organization of an expert-level workshop and two high-level events, in Brussels and in New York to contribute to a broader atrocity prevention program.
During the signing of the agreement, Adama Dieng expressed the gratitude of his office to the European Union for “its strong support for the United Nations and multilateralism, which strengthens partnership and cooperation in early warning. He added that "this financial contribution from the EU to the UN Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect will help prevent atrocity crimes and support the UN Secretary-General’s vision on prevention."
20 June 2019
Video message by Adama Dieng, Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide
The Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, delivered opening remarks at an international conference on Stopping Genocide and Holocaust Denial, which took place in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 20 June 2019. Special Adviser Dieng called on “all political leaders and all people in a position of influence, including religious leaders (…) to combat negative rhetoric and the glorification of war criminals with words of compassion and empathy toward the pain and suffering of their neighbors.” He also stressed the need to “take meaningful, concrete steps on the path toward greater tolerance, understanding and genuine trust-building” in the region.
18 June 2019
Launch of the UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech
On 18 June, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres launched the UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech, which sets out strategic guidance for the UN system to address hate speech at the national and global level. It also includes ways the UN Secretariat can support the work of the Resident Coordinators in addressing and countering hate speech. Its objectives are twofold: first, to enhance UN efforts to address root causes and drivers of hate speech; and second, to enable effective UN responses to the impact of hate speech on societies.
Secretary-General appoints Karen Smith of South Africa as Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced today the appointment of Karen Smith of South Africa as his Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect. She will succeed Ivan Šimonović of Croatia to whom the Secretary-General is deeply grateful.
Ms. Smith will work under the overall guidance of Adama Dieng, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, to further the conceptual, political, institutional and operational development of the responsibility to protect concept, as set out by the General Assembly in paragraphs 138 and 139 of the 2005 World Summit Outcome document.
A lecturer of International Relations at the Institute for History at Leiden University, The Netherlands, Ms. Smith has a research focus on non-western contributions to International Relations theory, as well as on human rights, new global governance groupings and South Africa’s foreign policy within the context of regional and emerging powers.
She was previously an Associate Professor in International Relations at the University of Cape Town (2011-2017) and taught at the universities of Stellenbosch (2000-2010) and Western Cape (2003-2004), in South Africa. Between 2006 and 2007, she was the Secretary-General of the United Nations Association of South Africa.
Ms. Smith holds a PhD in International Relations from Stellenbosch University, South Africa. She serves on the editorial boards of the journals Review of International Studies, Journal of African Union Studies, Foreign Policy Analysis and Rising Powers Quarterly.
7 December 2018
Invitation for 70 Years of the Genocide Convention
Join us on 7 December at 11 am in the Trusteeship Council Chamber at the United Nations, New York, to mark the 70th anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime.
VISIT OF SPECIAL ADVISER ON PREVENTION OF GENOCIDE TO EUROPE
On 16 October 2018, the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, delivered a keynote speech to the 6th Meeting of the European Union High Level Group on Combating Racism, Xenophobia and other forms of Intolerance in Vienna, organized by Austria under this State’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union. In his speech, Special Adviser Dieng stressed his concerns that all over Europe, ultranationalist resurgence is legitimizing hatred, racism and violence. He alerted that the spread of inflammatory language in mainstream political discourse under the disguise of ‘populism’ has been connected to an increase in hate crimes and hate speech. Special Adviser Dieng called on all States to address and respond to this concerning dynamic as a matter of urgency.
On 20 October, Special Adviser Dieng briefed the 116th Plenary Session of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe and held an exchange of views with its Member States. The Special Adviser committed to support the work of the Venice Commission in strengthening the protection of vulnerable populations, including ethnic and religious minorities, as well as in ensuring that State institutions respect the rule of law and the most basic human rights principles.
During his visit, the Special Adviser met government officials, members of the diplomatic community, civil society actors as well as United Nations colleagues.
Read here the keynote speech of the Special Adviser
Special Adviser on Prevention of Genocide calls for universal ratification of Genocide Convention
Genocide remains a “threat and a reality” in the 21st century, UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet said on Thursday, in an appeal to States to do more to act on the “warning signs” that often precede grave violations of international law. Read More >>
ON RWANDA GENOCIDE ANNIVERSARY, UN LEADERS ASK: CAN WORLD MUSTER THE WILL TO PREVENT ATROCITIES?
As the world officially remembers the genocidal murder of 800,000 Rwandans in 1994, United Nations leaders warn that ethnic cleansing and mass atrocities continue to blight humanity and call for sharper action to prevent such wholesale violations.
Read More >>
13 March 2018
VISIT OF SPECIAL ADVISER ON PREVENTION OF GENOCIDE TO BANGLADESH
From 7-13 March 2018 the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide visited Bangladesh to assess the situation of the Rohingya refugees who have fled Myanmar following incidents of violence in October 2016 and August 2017. His visit focused on what lies ahead for the Rohingya population; how to ensure that the crimes committed against them are not repeated; and how to hold accountable those responsible for the crimes that have been documented. During his visit, the Special Adviser met government officials, the diplomatic community, civil society actors and United Nations colleagues, as well as refugees and members of the host community in Cox’s Bazar.
Vienna meeting on implementation of Plan of Action for Religious Leaders and Actors to Prevent Incitement to Violence that Could Lead to Atrocity Crimes
From 12 to 15 February 2018, at the United Nations Office in Vienna, the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect organized a meeting to discuss the implementation of the Plan of Action for Religious Leaders and Actors to Prevent Incitement to Violence that Could Lead to Atrocity Crimes. The meeting was attended by more than 200 people, including some 150 religious leaders and actors and over 50-Member States. The meeting resulted in the identification of short and medium-term priorities for implementation of the Plan of Action, including: the establishment of a Global Steering Committee and regional coordination committees; the development of a resource bank and of a Covenant that would highlight religious leaders’ moral responsibility to implement the Plan of Action; and the prioritization of initiatives with a focus on education.
VISIT OF SPECIAL ADVISER ON PREVENTION OF GENOCIDE TO WESTERN BALKANS
On 12 February, the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide concluded a twelve-day visit to the region of the Western Balkans that included Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he explored existing challenges for reconciliation as well as opportunities to overcome them. He expressed concern at the presence of a number of factors that could lead to scenarios of further polarization unless serious and concerted efforts are taken to address them, primarily by political leaders but also by civil society actors and by the international community. Concerns include political polarization across identity lines and politicization of events in the past, including glorification of war criminals, contestation of court decisions and limited engagement in transitional justice and national reconciliation. He also expressed concern at the absence of shared narrative of events in the past and what he considered as limited political interest in promoting such understanding. In these four States, the Special Adviser met high level government officials, including cabinet members, heads of parliament and national prosecutors; religious leaders; representatives of civil society organizations; members of the diplomatic community, as well as United Nations colleagues.
Launch of appeal for universal ratification of the Genocide Convention at 69th Anniversary of the Genocide Convention and International Day of the Victims of Genocide
On 8 December 2017 (in lieu of 9 December 2017), the Office of Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility Protect organised an event to mark the 69th anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the Genocide Convention), as well as the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime. The event took place at the Trusteeship Council Chamber in the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, seized the opportunity to launch a one-year appeal for the universal ratification of the Genocide Convention by 9 December 2018, when the Convention will mark its 70th anniversary. As of today, a total of 149 States (including one non-member observer State) have ratified or acceded to the Genocide Convention. Another 45 United Nations Member States have yet to do so.
Implementing the Responsibility to Protect: Accountability for
Report of the Secretary-General (Advanced Copy)
There is a gap between our stated commitment to the responsibility to protect
and the daily reality confronted by populations exposed to the risk of genocide, war
crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. To close this gap, we must
ensure that the responsibility to protect is implemented in practice.
One of the
principal ways in which we can do so is by strengthening accountability for the
implementation of the responsibility to protect and by ensuring rigorous and open
scrutiny of practice, based on agreed principles. Accountability ties authorities to their
populations and individual States to the international community.
This report outlines
practical steps that can be taken by Member States, intergovernmental bodies and the
United Nations system to strengthen accountability for atrocity crimes prevention. It
begins by outlining the relationship between the legal, moral and political
responsibilities associated with the responsibility to protect and different forms of
accountability. It goes on to identify steps that can be taken to strengthen
accountability for atrocity crimes prevention at the national level, to enhance the role
of intergovernmental bodies and to improve the accountability of the United Nations
system to those it serves...
INTERVIEW: Amid increased suffering, responsibility to protect all the more necessary – UN Special Adviser (UN News Centre)
24 March 2017 – In 2005, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the outcome of the World Summit in which it, inter alia, underscored that each individual State has the responsibility to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.
In addition to the State’s responsibility, the General Assembly also highlighted that the international community, too, has the responsibility to use appropriate means in accordance with Chapters VI and VIII of the UN Charter – the chapters dealing with peaceful settlement of disputes and regional arrangements – to help to protect populations from such crimes.
Within the UN system, the Secretary-General has designated a senior official to serve as his Special Adviser and to support both the organization and UN Member States in implementing the principle as well as in fulfilling the obligation.
The current Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect is Ivan Šimonović who assumed the office in October last year.
Prior to his appointment, Mr. Šimonović served as the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, heading the New York office of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (July 2010 to September 2016). He has also published extensively in the fields of law and human rights.
UN News spoke with Mr. Šimonović on the progress made by the international community since the adoption of the principle of Responsibility to Protect, the challenges it is facing at the moment, and his role.
Religious leaders deserve full support in quest for peace, says UN Adviser on Genocide Prevention (UN News Centre)
Religious leaders and faith-based organizations have a responsibility to contribute to peaceful societies and the international community must support these grassroots peacemakers in their daily activities, the United Nations official mandated to fight genocide today told an international meeting on religion...
Addressing the third annual symposium on ‘The Role of Religion and Faith-Based Organizations in International Affairs,’ now under way at UN Headquarters in New York, Adama Dieng, the UN Special Adviser for Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, said that religious leaders “have a responsibility to contribute to the building of peaceful, inclusive and cohesive societies that are resilient to conflict, violent extremism and atrocity crimes.”
The Office of Mr. Dieng is one of the sponsors of the symposium, along with the UN Inter-agency Task Force for Engagement with Faith-based Organizations and the Committee of Religious NGOs at the UN. This year’s thematic focus is on just, inclusive and sustainable peace.
Mr. Dieng, who is currently in Doha participating in a meeting on the responsibility to protect, delivered his address via a video message. He said the primary responsibility for creating sustained peace lies with States, who must promote the values of diversity and manage diversity constructively – however, “collaboration” with religious leaders remains vital.
“They can reach out to and influence large numbers of people,” Mr. Dieng. He added that religious leaders “provide support during emergencies, respond to the needs of marginalized communities, as well as address grievances as soon as they emerge and advocate for the rights of their communities.”
Last year, the UN Security Council passed resolution 2282 (2016) , which calls for a comprehensive approach to transitional justice and accountability to consolidate peace, reduce poverty and prevent countries from relapsing into conflict.
In his video message, Mr. Dieng discussed his recent work with religious leaders on the Fez Plan of Action on the role of religious leaders and actors in preventing incitement to violence that could lead to atrocity crimes. The Plan was named after the Moroccan city where the first steps on a strategy on the role of religious leaders were taken in 2015.
According to Mr. Dieng, the Plan will be launched in New York during the first quarter of this year, followed by meetings on its implementation.
“Implementing the Fez Plan of Action will be a good starting point in enhancing religious actors’ engagement in the prevention of atrocity crimes, as well as enhancing collaboration among religious leaders, Member States and civil society to prevent incitement to violence,” he said.
Visit of Special Adviser on Prevention of Genocide to South Sudan
The United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide visited South Sudan from 7 to 11 November 2016 due to growing concern at developments there, including reports of violence targeting different ethnic groups. The aim of the visit was to carry out an assessment of the situation from the perspective of his mandate in order to better understand the landscape of ethnically-fuelled violence – including hate speech and incitement to violence – and the risk that this violence could lead to further atrocity crimes, including genocide...
The United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide visited South Sudan from 7 to 11 November 2016 due to growing concern at developments there, including reports of violence targeting different ethnic groups. The aim of the visit was to carry out an assessment of the situation from the perspective of his mandate in order to better understand the landscape of ethnically-fuelled violence – including hate speech and incitement to violence – and the risk that this violence could lead to further atrocity crimes, including genocide.
He met with United Nations colleagues, senior government officials, civil society groups, religious leaders, community members and diplomatic representatives in Juba. He also visited a “protection of civilians” site in Juba and travelled to Yei town in Yei River State to meet with members of the community and government. Yei, which until recently had been spared the violence seen in other areas, has now been identified as a conflict “hot spot” with escalating violence against multiple tribal groups in Yei and in the Central Equatorian State, of which Yei River State is a part.
Following his visit he gave a media briefing and delivered a statement to the United Nations Security Council.
Media Briefing by Adama Dieng, United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, on his visit to South Sudan (11 November 2016)
Statement to the Security Council by Adama Dieng, United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, on his visit to South Sudan (17 November 2016)
Video programme on the Special Adviser’s visit to South Sudan, produced by UNMISS