Tina Park delivered a statement on behalf of the Canadian Centre for the Responsibility to Protect at the UN General Assembly’s interactive dialogue on the R2P at the UN Headquarters in New York in September 2015. Below is the text of her address in English. Please click here for the statement in other languages. Please click here for the U of T media’s coverage.
Thank you for the privilege of speaking to the General Assembly.
The Canadian Centre for the Responsibility to Protect fully endorses this year’s report on implementing R2P and commends Special Adviser Dr. Jennifer Welsh for her tireless efforts. The Secretary-General’s commitment and leadership on R2P is deeply appreciated.
Mr. Moderator, the photo of Aylan Kurdi, a three-year old Syrian boy whose body appeared on the shores of Turkey last week, has underlined the seminal humanitarian challenge of our time. Our global paralysis on Syria has contributed to the death of thousands and displacement of millions. The speed, magnitude and brutality of the Syrian crisis calls for our compassion and our collective responsibility.
This year marks not only the 10th anniversary of the 2005 World Summit but also the centennial of the Armenian Genocide, the twentieth anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre, and the seventieth anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter. As we recall our pledge of “never again,” we must confront on-going challenges in the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Yemen, Iraq, and North Korea.
The Canadian Centre respectfully offers six points for the future:
First, domestic embracing of R2P by all member states is critical. Appointing the National R2P Focal Point is an important first step, but it must be accompanied by an action plan with specific policy options and long-term strategies tailored to national circumstances.
Second, a stronger partnership must be built between parliamentarians, academics, journalists, businesses, security sectors, and civil society groups across the globe, to widen and deepen public support for R2P. The Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly’s resolution in 2013 has pledged parliamentarians to mobilize their resources for enforcing R2P at home.
Third, to make prevention a priority for R2P, more resources must be dedicated towards education, training, and investment in infrastructure. We must be proactive in using technology and social media to track and assess risks, refute hateful messages, and empower the younger generations. Addressing the root causes of mass atrocities and building national resilience will be a slow process, requiring institutional changes.
Fourth, to end the culture of impunity, member states that have yet to join the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions must ratify them in a timely manner. A firm mechanism to hold perpetrators accountable will be an important deterrent against future crimes.
Fifth, mainstreaming R2P across the UN system in line with the “Human Rights Up Front” initiative will require a careful re-assessment of the UN’s protection capacity, as well as enhancing clarity and efficiency in its coordination mechanisms. Restraining the Security Council’s use of the veto power for R2P cases is an important part of this process.
Lastly, the real success of Pillar Three for R2P will depend on building deployable capacity in political, financial, technical, humanitarian and ultimately, military terms. Timely and decisive responses will require a credible pool of resources and a comprehensive strategy of engagement, especially in the face of violent extremism.
Mr. President, in our struggle against hate, indifference and mass atrocities, R2P offers a powerful paradigm to unite our efforts.
At the Canadian Centre for the R2P, we believe that each of us must step up and choose hope over cynicism to make R2P a living reality. Thank you.
Tina J. Park
Co-Founder & Executive Director
Canadian Centre for the Responsibility to Protect