Last week the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) participated in a conference on the Responsibility to Protect in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The two-day conference evaluated the Responsibility to Protect ten years after it was adopted as part of the 2005 World Outcome Document.
The 2005 World Outcome Document said that the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) rests on three pillars. First, each State has primary obligation to prevent the four atrocity crimes—genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing. Second, the international community has a responsibility to assist States in preventing atrocity crimes. Third, if a State is manifestly failing to prevent or stop atrocity crimes the international community may intervene to prevent or stop atrocity crimes, including using force as a last resort.
More than 25 academics, foreign service officers, lawyers, and policy-makers from five continents discussed what the Responsibility to Protect is and how it applies to specific situations around the world. John Gaudette, a legal research officer from TCHRD, presented a paper on how the Responsibility to Protect applied to the situation in Tibet. His presentation argued that because of the People’s Republic of China’s manifest failure to prevent the commission of crimes against humanity for decades in Tibet, the international community should intervene, but not use force, to prevent the commission of crimes against humanity in Tibet. The international community should intervene by publically condemning the PRC for its policies in Tibet and pursuing criminal prosecutions.
Two speakers addressed the Chinese idea of Responsible to Protect, which, among other things, places a higher emphasis on individual States preventing atrocity crimes and seeks to prohibit use of force to address atrocity crimes not authorized by the UN Charter. Other speakers addressed how the Responsibility to Protect applied and was being implemented in Poland, the African Union, the Central African Republic, and Syria. From a more theoretical perspective, speakers addressed the relationship between the Responsibility to Protect and international criminal prosecutions, the responsibility to prevent, the role of the UN Security Council, how the Responsibility to Protect should be understood, and the challenges facing it.
In addition to the conference, the Slovenian rap band Murat & Jose performed a song on the Responsibility to Protect specifically prepared for the conference. The song can be heard here and the lyrics are available here.