September 4, 2014 | New York, NY, USA | Mass Violence and Atrocities

The Role of Human Rights, Development Assistance, and Peacekeeping: Building State Capacity for Atrocities Prevention

Invitation Only

On September 8, 2014, the United Nations General Assembly held its sixth annual informal interactive dialogue on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) on the theme of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Report “Fulfilling our Collective Responsibility: International Assistance and the Responsibility to Protect.” The dialogue convened member states, regional bodies, and civil society to deliberate on the report, which focuses on R2P’s “second pillar,” or the international community’s responsibility to assist states to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing.

In preparation for the dialogue, the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect, and the Stanley Center convened an expert panel to further explore three elements of R2P’s second pillar:

  • The role of human rights mechanisms and actors to encourage and assist states to prevent atrocity crimes.
  • The impact of development assistance in building state capacity to uphold protection obligations.
  • The impact of temporary international assistance through the use of peacekeeping and stabilization operations to assist states under stress.

After considerable discussion by panelists and participants, many themes emerged, including the importance of early action, the need for better pre-deployment training of peacekeepers, and the critical importance of enhanced information sharing and cooperation among actors at all levels.

“Pillar two is both prevention and response—the lines between them are blurred. This transition is an area that needs a lot of attention,” said panel chair Patrick Travers, UN Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect.


Kelsey Paul Shantz

Program Officer
Mass Violence and Atrocities