Mass Violence and Atrocities | Discussion Takeaways

Preparatory Workshop for the Second Meeting of the R2P Focal Points Network

March 2012


The 2005 United Nations World Summit Outcome Document outlined the unequivocal responsibility of states and the international community to protect populations from genocide, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and war crimes. In doing so, states committed to taking steps at the domestic, regional, and international level to protect populations from mass atrocities and making the promise of “never again” a reality.

In September 2010 the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, in association with the governments of Denmark and Ghana, launched an initiative to support governments in their efforts to operationalize the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) at the national level through the appointment of R2P Focal Points.

Focal Points are senior officials mandated to enable national efforts to improve mass atrocity prevention and response. The initiative seeks to expand the number of R2P Focal Points appointed by national governments and to link these Focal Points within a global network designed to facilitate international cooperation and coordination in pursuit of protection-focused objectives. Costa Rica and Australia have since joined Denmark, Ghana and the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect as co-organizers of the initiative and the Focal Points Network.

In advance of the second formal meeting of this Focal Points Network, the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect and the Stanley Center convened R2P Focal Points and other national representatives, UN mission ambassadors and experts, UN officials, and mass atrocity specialists for a preparatory workshop to address the challenges faced by individual R2P Focal Points and their developing global network. They gathered February 24-26, 2012, as part of the Stanley Center’s 43rd United Nations Issues Conference.

Observations from the discussion are outlined in this policy memo.