Newsroll: Baha’is, R2P, and social media

Roméo Dallaire on the Baha’is of Iran

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMhYpmaYzVA

Canadian senator and retired general Romeo Dallaire speaks about the escalation of human rights violations against the Baha’is of Iran. He believes these human rights violations could lead to mass atrocities if the world refuses to act.

 

R2P and Europe: on the importance of focal points

“First Regional R2P Focal Points Meeting for Europe in Slovenia”

http://www.globalr2p.org/publications/233

From 10-11 April the Government of the Republic of Slovenia hosted the first Regional R2P National Focal Points Meeting for Europe. Participants included national focal points and representatives from 31 countries, representative of the UN, the ICC, the ICMPD, the EU, and the OSCE as well as NGOs. Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, was also present. The objective of the meeting was to advance the principle of R2P in Europe. Participants exchanged their views, experience and expectations. The establishment of national focal points within national legislatures is one of the major objectives of the proponents of the R2P doctrine. R2P Focal points have the ability to build national capacities on the prevention of mass atrocities: parliamentarians can hold government accountable for the lack of action taken to prevent atrocities. The Regional meeting was organized in association with the Global centre for the Responsibility to Protect. As you can see think tanks and non-NGOs are at the forefront of the promotion of mass atrocity prevention and R2P, constantly pushing governments to stay true to their commitments.

Social media and prevention

The Auschwitz Institute has issued an interesting podcast with Andrew Stroehlein, European Media Director for Human Rights Watch and former Director of Communications at the International Crisis Group. Stroehlein speaks about media monitoring, the potential and challenges of social media, including in terms of prevention.

As Stroehlein rightly argues “media monitoring generally is very crucial for that early warning.” We saw it with the Rwandan genocide and RTLM radio. I am a strong believer that social media can be used to early warning and for advocacy. This is what many call “the power of witness.” For more information on the “power of witness”, you want to look at Harvard Kennedy School’s Mass Atrocity Response Operations (MARO) project, Hatebase and  Satellite Sentinel Project

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Newsroll

US Genocide Prevention Initiative:

A year ago, US President Barack Obama launched the Genocide Prevention Initiative, which seeks to improve the his government’s capacity to prevent genocide and mass atrocities. The US Holocaust Memorial Museum and the 2008 Genocide Prevention task Force (GPTF), co-chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Secretary of Defense William Cohen, pushed this initiative and made recommendations to the government, including the creation of an Atrocities Prevention Board. the aim is to improve the US’s capacity respond to early warnings of conflicts before they evolve into large-scale conflicts, mass atrocities and genocide. The creation of the board should be seen as a major step, even though a lot remains to be done. For more details on the President’s announcement, you can watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xTGJxYp76w

Here is also a statement by Madeleine Albright and William Cohen

Burma/Myanmar

Following the report issued by Human Rights Watch yesterday, several interesting articles were published.

– The Monks Who Hate Muslims, Foreign Policy, Francis Wade

Weren’t Buddhists Supposed to Be Pacifists?, Foreign Policy, Christian Caryl

Burma’s Rohingya’s ghettos broke my heart, Vice, Emanuel Stoakes

The Guardian also posted a video showing Burmese police standing by as Buddhist attack Muslim

Nigeria

An interesting New York Times article on the violence in Nigeria where heavy fighting between the army and Islamic extremists Boko Haram killed at least 185 people over the week end. The fighting in Baga (north of Nigeria, near Chad). is the first time Boko Haram has used heavy weapons. Following international reactions of shock, including from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, the government has ordered a probe into the clashes to determine whether the army followed the rules of engagement. However, this type of probe is something that the military often conducts but impunity remains widespread. Results are never or rarely made public. Just before the fighting in Baga, the military got report of Boko Haram activities in the area and tried to arrest the suspected Boko Haram members in a mosque. According to soldiers, Boko Haram activists attacked them, one soldier was killed, leading the army to reply. Killing ensued. The area has been very insecure for a long time and it is only escalating.