Monday, December 18, 2006

What is R2P - - without you and me?

Outgoing UN Under-Secretary General Kofi Annan is using centre stage for one thing.......the 'Responsibility to Protect'.

On Human Rights Day, Annan was unrelenting in his critique of the continued international failures:
As you know, last year's World Summit formally endorsed that momentous doctrine (R2P) - which means, in essence, that respect for national sovereignty can no longer be used as an excuse for inaction in the face of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. Yet one year later, to judge by what is happening in Darfur, our performance has not improved much since the disasters of Bosnia and Rwanda. Sixty years after the liberation of the Nazi death camps, and 30 years after the Cambodian killing fields, the promise of "never again" is ringing hollow.
All well and good and something we've heard all too often. However, what stood out in last week's speech was his direct call out to civil society:
...I look to civil society - which means you! We need dedicated individuals and dynamic human rights defenders to hold governments to account. States' performance must be judged against their commitments, and they must be accountable both to their own people and to their peers in the international community.
Words alone will never lead action. The only true leadership comes from example. If R2P is not important to us, in a very public way, then on paper it will remain.


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