Advancing atrocity prevention: work of the Office for Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect – Report of the Secretary-General (A / 75/863-S / 2021/424) – Global
Agenda items 14, 122 and 135
Integrated and coordinated implementation and monitoring
to the results of major United Nations conferences
and summits in the economic, social and related fields
Follow-up to the results of the Millennium Summit
The responsibility to protect and prevention
genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes
1. The prevention of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity (atrocity crimes) remains an ongoing global challenge and an ongoing imperative. There is no doubt that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has exacerbated existing vulnerabilities and created new protection challenges. Around the world, there has been an upsurge in stigma and hate speech and an increase in incitement and violence against national, ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities, as well as against regard to other ethnic and racial groups simply because of their identity. In addition, state and non-state actors continue to blatantly disregard well-established principles of international human rights and humanitarian law. The deliberate targeting of schools and hospitals, the destruction of religious and heritage sites, the militarization of food, and widespread sexual and gender-based violence have all become more prevalent.
2. During the first months of the pandemic, the Secretary-General called for a global ceasefire to silence the guns and help create the conditions for the delivery of life-saving aid. Despite significant approval, the conflict continued and the risks of conflict-related atrocity increased. Prioritizing prevention therefore remains more crucial than ever.
3. In September 2020, on the occasion of the fifteenth anniversary of the adoption of the principle of the responsibility to protect, the Secretary-General declared that systematic and serious violations of human rights, widespread impunity, rhetoric hatred, exclusion and discrimination could all increase. the risk of atrocious crimes, including war crimes and crimes against humanity. In his call to action for human rights launched in 2020, the Secretary-General underlined the links between the protection and prevention of human rights and provided a framework for placing human rights at the center of all United Nations action in areas that are at the heart of collective commitment. respect for the responsibility to protect.
4. At the 2005 World Summit, all Member States of the United Nations made a commitment to protect populations against genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. Since then, progress has been made in advancing the conceptualization and operationalization of the responsibility to protect. The annual reports of the Secretary-General on the responsibility to protect have provided guidance on the application of this principle. The first of these reports (A / 63/677) defined a three-pillar implementation strategy in accordance with paragraphs 138 and 139 of the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document (General Assembly resolution 60/1). The first pillar is based on the idea that state sovereignty implies the responsibility of individual states to protect their own populations against the most serious crimes in accordance with their national and international obligations. The second pillar sets out the parallel commitment of the international community to assist States in fulfilling this primary responsibility. The third pillar emphasizes the responsibility to protect the international community when states are clearly failing to protect their populations, and includes taking collective action, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, including the range of tools available in its chapters VI, VII and VIII.
5. In 2009, in its resolution 63/308, the General Assembly decided to constantly address the responsibility to protect. In his subsequent reports, the Secretary-General has examined different aspects of the concept and its application, providing further guidance on the three pillars and focusing on thematic issues, most recently the role of women in the prevention of atrocities (A / 74/964-S / 2020/501).
6. The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of how the Responsibility to Protect has been and is being implemented through the Organization’s prevention, early warning and response activities, led by the Office for Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect. The Office supports Member States, regional and subregional organizations, and local and civil society actors through a series of initiatives to assess and address existing vulnerabilities in order to mitigate the risk of criminal atrocities. This work is carried out in coordination with all United Nations headquarters and field presences to assist people at risk. As noted in the report, the Office collects information and analyzes the risk of atrocity crimes, encourages swift action by Member States and regional and subregional organizations, and advances critical programs, such as prevention of incitement. to violence and the fight against hate speech.