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ICRtoP Update: Coalition events highlight gender and Responsibility to Protect

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by Marijke Kremin

Continuing its work to raise awareness around the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP, R2P) norm and atrocity prevention, the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect (ICRtoP) has taken steps to work across different UN agendas to demonstrate its interconnectedness.

With linking the RtoP to different UN agendas, the ICRtoP capitalized on the momentum gained in our Women, Peace and Security (WPS) side event with our partners the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), tby hosting a side event to the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), examining its priority theme, social protection systems and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality, through a prevention lens. The event addressed opportunities for holistic approaches to development, conflict prevention, and humanitarian responses that remove barriers to gender equality and build infrastructures ensuring women’s inclusion and access to justice, bringing together a panel of female civil society and women’s inclusion and representation. The discussion resulted in the production of recommendations for the inclusion of a gender lens in conflict prevention by improving women and girls’ participation and access to the necessary public services and protections to advance gender equality.

Using gender as a common thread, both through CSW and our side event WPS Week in October, the ICRtoP’s convened a side event to the UN Security Council Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Conflict. Working with the Global Justice Center, the panel discussion on 22 May, entitled “Gender and Genocide: Engendering analysis for better prevention, accountability, and protection” directly linked the relationship between gender and atrocity crimes. The event expanded upon the Global Justice Center’s white paper, Beyond Killing: Gender, Genocide, and Obligations under International Law, focusing on the unique ways women experience and are affected by genocidal violence by bringing together experts from civil society, academia, and law. The goal of the event was to raise awareness around the need for the inclusion of a gendered analysis to illuminate the multi-dimensional nature of atrocity crimes to better prevent their occurrence, as a lack of gender-specificity in legal frameworks prevents the international community from effectively preventing and punishing atrocity crimes.

On 20 December 2018, UN Secretary-General António Guterres appointed Ms. KarenSmith as his new Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect. Ms. Smith is a lecturer in International Relations at Leiden University, The Netherlands. As UN Special Adviser to the Secretary-General, Ms. Smith will be responsible for the overall development of R2P within the UN system, as well as for supporting the General Assembly in its consideration of the norm. In January the International R2P Coalition organized an introductory meeting for New York NGOs and Ms Smith. A second ICR2P consultation took place 25 June, ahead of the General Assembly’s 2019 debate on R2P. The 2019 Secretary-General’s 2019 report on the Responsibility to Protect is entitled “Lessons Learned for Prevention.”

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