The Budapest Centre will partecipate to the luncheon session: Responsibility to Protect and Mediation: Friends or Foes? in the context of the INITIATIVE ON MEDIATION IN THE MEDITERRANEAN REGION “Promoting a Culture of Mediation and Prevention in the Mediterranean” organized in Brdo, 11 March 2014 by the Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

CONCEPT NOTE of the luncheon session:

Since the endorsement at the 2005 World Summit, the responsibility to protect (R2P) has become a key concept in the prevention of the most serious crimes: genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. As a principle, R2P has been subject to much discussion and criticism, but has also inspired action and gained prominence in global discussions. However, much remains to be done to gain broad understanding of the full spectrum of the concept, to solidify political support and to build institutional capacity so that the promise of “never again” at last becomes a reality.

Understanding of the concept has further evolved through practice, actions by UN member states, regional organizations and the work of the UN Secretary-General and his special advisors on the prevention of genocide and R2P, resolutions by the UN Security Council and UN General Assembly debates. Several prevention tools have been used successfully in different situations, while in others implementation might have left room for improvement.

The most promising aspect of the responsibility to protect is partnership. R2P is supportive of sovereignty and helps states exercise their responsibilities to protect their populations as the agents best placed to do that. Assistance takes a variety of forms, from international and regional organizations, to private actors and civil society. There are UN human rights mechanisms that help build domestic capacities, and there is conflict prevention assistance, such as mediation and similar types of activities, for instance interfaith and inter-communal dialogue.

The seminar aims to address the dynamics between conflict prevention and R2P as related, yet separate concepts that can mutually reinforce one another. The root causes of conflicts are often similar to those of atrocity crimes, with risk factors such as grave violations of human rights, hate propaganda, marginalization of the most vulnerable groups, discrimination against minorities and ethnic groups, the presence of armed groups, etc. The capacity to identify such risks early must be improved, and appropriate policy responses identified.

Mediation is an essential tool in conflict prevention and resolution. It can help facilitate a political solution, end violence and prevent conflicts from escalating into violence. By doing so, it can help implement the R2P concept. Considering the changing nature of conflicts and the greater focus on violence and other forms of civil strife, there is wide recognition that more effective prevention is needed. Prevention and the protection of people are at the heart of the concept of responsibility to protect.


Dr. Jennifer Welsh, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General for the Responsibility to Protect


Stephen Rapp, Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues in the Office of Global Criminal Justice at the US Department of State


Enzo Maria Le Fevre Cervini, Director of Research and Cooperation, Budapest Centre for the International Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities

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