UNU Interactive Seminar on Global Issues XVII

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  • DATE / TIME :
    2013•03•12    15:00 - 17:00
    Location :
    Tokyo

    “Civilians in Harm’s Way: A Tale of Two Protection Norms”
    Norms of Protection: Responsibility to Protect, Protection of Civilians and Their Interaction

    Lecturers:

    • Charles Sampford, Foundation Dean; Professor of Law and Research Professor of Ethics at Griffith University; Director of the Institute for Ethics, Governance and Law (a joint initiative of the United Nations University, Griffith, QUT, ANU, Center for Asian Integrity in Manila and OP Jindal Global University in Delhi)
    • Vesselin Popovski, Senior Academic Programme Officer, Head of Section “Peace and Security”, United Nations University, Tokyo

    Discussants:

    • HE Ambassador Dr. Charles Murigande, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Rwanda to Japan
    • Reiichiro Takahashi, Director-General, International Peace Cooperation Headquarters, Cabinet Office, Government of Japan
    • Johan Cels, Representative in Japan, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

    A series of humanitarian tragedies in the last two decades demonstrated the failure of the international community to protect civilians in the context of civil wars and complex emergencies. These brought to life two concepts of protection — Responsibility to Protect (R2P) and Protection of Civilians (POC). Both were deeply rooted in the empathy that human beings have for the suffering of innocent people and both have achieved high-level normative endorsement in the UN General Assembly and UN Security Council resolutions, and were also conceptually developed through several UN Secretary-General reports. The two concepts can be open for misinterpretation and misuse, but they are nevertheless developing — sometimes in parallel, sometimes diverging and sometimes converging — with varying degrees of institutionalization and acceptance. The two norms were instrumental in adopting Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973 (Libya) and 1975 (Côte d’Ivoire), an example of how norms can be efficiently implemented in addressing present deadly risks to human life. However, the continuous massacres in Syria demonstrate the opposite – the shortages and difficulties in implementation of the two norms.

    This symposium will present the outcomes of a joint project on R2P and POC, undertaken by the Institute for Ethics, Governance and Law (a joint initiative of the United Nations University, Griffith, QUT, Australian National University, Center for Asian Integrity in Manila and OP Jindal Global University in Delhi) and United Nations University Headquarters in Tokyo. These outcomes can be found in the recently published UNU Press book Norms of Protection: Responsibility to Protect, Protection of Civilians and Their Interaction (2012) and the UNU policy guide Policy Guide to the Responsibility to Protect and the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflicts (2012).

    The symposium will address the following questions:

    1. What are the normative and institutional origins of the two norms and does that explain some of the different approaches to each?
    2. To what situations does each norm apply? For example, does POC apply to armed conflict only? Does R2P apply to mass atrocities only?
    3. What is common between R2P and POC and what is different? When do the two concepts overlap?
    4. Which of the two concepts is wider, and which narrower? Which one has a deeper prevention potential?
    5. To what extent is each concept legal, and to what extent political?
    6. Is there a danger of linking the two concepts? Or is there a benefit from such linking?
    7. Why is there willingness to engage in POC, but reluctance to engage in R2P?
    8. Which actors – domestic and international – are in a better position to undertake R2P, and which to undertake POC?
    9. In what way have other roles – peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance, refugee protection, women/children’s rights etc. – been affected by the normative and institutional development of R2P and POC?

    Attendance is free, but advance registration (by 11 March) is required. Please click on the registration  link at the top of this page to access the online registration form.

  • UNU Interactive Seminar on Global Issues XVII Schedule

    (81.1 kB PDF)

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    Elizabeth Rose Hall (5F)
    United Nations University
    5-53-70 Jingumae
    Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-8925
    Japan