UN SG Ban proposes campaign to prevent massive rights abuses

[JURIST] UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] on Wednesday called on world leaders to take new steps [statement; press release] to combat genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other human rights abuses, introducing a report [materials] detailing a new campaign against the offenses. Called the "Responsibility to Protect" [campaign website], the campaign focuses on holding states responsible for preventing the abuses from happening to their citizens, drawing on international support to help countries prevent the abuses from occurring, and quickly enlisting the international community to end the abuses when they arise. Ban said that he hoped the implementation of such a campaign would help to prevent future atrocities:

Four years ago, our heads of state and government unanimously committed themselves to preventing genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity, as well as their incitement. This universal and irrevocable commitment was made at the highest level, without contradiction or challenge. Our common task now is to deliver on this historic pledge to the peoples of the world.

My report offers some initial ideas on how to go about this. These proposals, not the world leaders' solemn commitments, are to be the focus of our deliberations this week. The question before us is not whether, but how. From day one, I have made the patient work of turning lofty words into practical deeds among the highest priorities of my administration. In that spirit, it is high time to turn the promise of the responsibility to protect into practice.

The strategy outlined in my report, based on the 2005 Outcome Document, rests on three pillars: state responsibility; international assistance and capacity-building; and timely and decisive response.
The UN General Assembly will meet to discuss Ban's proposal on July 23.

The 2005 Outcome Document [text, PDF] was drafted during the 2005 Heads of State and Government World Summit [official website]. The document represented agreement [JURIST report] on several human rights issues by the assembly, but differences on others, like nuclear proliferation. Following its adoption, then-secretary general Kofi Annan promised follow-through on the issues, but warned that progress may be slow [JURIST report].

 

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