"Syria: Civilian casualties and refugee population increase in ongoing civil war", ICRtoP

30 August 2012
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1. Irwin Cotler, Huffington Post – 10 Steps to a Peaceful Syria
2. Patrick Quinton-Brown, Canadian International Council – Saving R2P from Syria
1. Asia-Pacific Centre for R2P – ASEAN and the UN GA Dialogue on the SG’s Report on Timely and Decisive Response
2. UN News Centre - Interview with New UN Deputy Secretary-General
3. Sara Davies, Protection Gateway – R2P + WPS = preventing SGBV
4. Book: Vesselin Popovski, Charles Sampford, and Angus Francis – “Norms of Protection: Responsibility to Protect, Protection of Civilians and Their Interaction”
7 September 2012, Panel Discussion – Roads to a Free Syria: What are the International Community’s Responsibilities and Options? Hudson Institute
8 October 2012, Conference – The Responsibility to Protect: What Next? World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) and Indian Federation of United Nations Associations (IFUNA)

New Special Envoy begins tenure as casualties from civil war mount
On 16 August 2012, Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi agreed to become the UN-Arab League Joint Special Envoy to Syria, stating that he would focus on breaking the deadlock in the UN Security Council (UNSC) on the crisis and strive to achieve a political transition. On 23 August Syrian deputy foreign minister, Faisal Muqdad, stated that Syria was ready to cooperate with the newly appointed envoy and that he hoped Brahimi would facilitate a “national dialogue”. An emergency UNSC meeting was called for Thursday 30 August, but diplomats agreed that there would be no further action from the Council on Syria aside from dealing with humanitarian aid.
Violence across Syria throughout August continued to affect civilians with Amnesty International reporting on 23 August that battles between Syrian government officials and the opposition in Aleppo were placing civilians at risk, mostly because of continued indiscriminate attacks by Syrian forces. On 25 August, activists on the ground reported that over 200 Syrians, including women and children, had been massacred by Syrian forces in Daraya. Three days later, a car bomb set off at a funeral in a suburb of Jaramana, an area where the population is primarily supportive of Syrian President Assad, resulted in 27 casualties, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The Syrian state media blamed rebel fighters for the incident while opposition activists accused the government of staging the bomb to divert attention away from civilian deaths from army assaults. On 30 August, Human Right Watch reported that over the past three weeks at least 10 bakeries had been targeted for attacks in Aleppo, killing and injuring numerous civilians waiting in line for bread with one attack killing up to 60 and wounding more than 70. Ethnic tensions also increased over the border with clashes in the Lebanese city of Tripoli between Sunnis and Alawites, the Muslim sect to which Assad belongs, resulting in death of at least 15 people on 21 August.
Refugee population strains neighboring countries
The number of refugees entering Turkey and Jordan increased dramatically between July and August. Having taken in more than 80,000 refugees as of 27 August, Turkey rushed to build more camps to increase their capacity to 100,000 in an effort to shelter the approximately 10,000 Syrian refugees waiting across the border. The following day, Turkey announced that they were revising plans in hopes to be able to r eceive up to 120,000 refugees, while the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) warned that the number of Syrian refugees fleeing to Turkey could reach 200,000 as the conflict continues. Jordan also faced difficulty in coping with the influx of refugees, as the number flowing into Jordan doubled during the week of 21 August, and called for increased international aid.
1. 10 Steps to a Peaceful Syria
Irwin Cotler
Huffington Post
24 August 2012
Irwin Cotler is a Professor of Law (Emeritus) at McGill University and former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.
(…) In Libya, the UN Security Council invoked the Responsibility to Protect Doctrine -- the international law principle authorizing international collective action "to protect [a state's] population from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity" if the state where these crimes are being committed is unable or unwilling to protect its citizens -- or worse, as in the case of Syria, it is the author of such crimes. In Syria, it is as if this principle had never been adopted by the international community, let alone the obligation to implement it. (…)
(…) What is so necessary now (…) is for the United States, in concert with the EU, the Arab League, Turkey, Canada, and other "Friends of Syria" to move to implement the following measures with all deliberate speed:
First, protection against the threat of weapons of mass destruction (…)
Second, it is necessary to interdict and sanction the substantial Iranian and Hezbollah military assistance to the Syrian regime (…)
Third, enhanced support for the besieged opposition (…)
Fourth, safe havens must be established. (…)
Fifth, such safe havens, which are necessary for Aleppo, are no less crucial for Syria as a whole (…)
Sixth, it is necessary that the United States -- together with Arab, Turkish, European, and other allies -- work to unify the patchwork Syrian opposition (…)
Seventh, the Syrian political and army leadership must be put on notice that they will be held accountable for their grave violations of international law (…)
Eighth, the international community must protect against the risk of rising sectarian violence (…)
Ninth, there needs to be the mandated deployment of a large international Arab-led peace protection force in Syria (…)
Tenth, there is a clear and compelling need for enhanced humanitarian assistance arising from the exponential increase in internally displaced people within Syria (…)
Read the full article.
Read his article published in the Edmonton Journal on 24 August, "World must aid Syria now".
2. Saving R2P from Syria
Patrick Quinton-Brown
Canadian International Council
14 August 2012
Patrick Quinton-Brown is Co-Chair of Toronto-based ICRtoP Member, the Canadian Centre for the Responsibility to Protect.
(…) Both critics and advocates agree that Syria is putting R2P in crisis. If the principle is to serve as an international norm and moral imperative to stop mass atrocities, why has it failed to prompt any form of binding resolution from the UN? The third pillar of R2P clearly states that when a state fails to uphold its responsibility to protect, the international community has an obligation to intervene by diplomatic, economic, or, if necessary, military means. (…)
At least rhetorically, both China and Russia justify their vetoes by suggesting that sanctions – or any other kind of coercion, for that matter – will only intensify the flames of the conflict. Moreover, in a manner that Susan Rice describes as “paranoid,” they predict the West will deceptively interpret resolutions to justify military intervention and regime change. To these states and their allies, the language of protection that has characterized recent council debates is simply a moral guise for military recklessness intended to advance national interests.
The current deadlock cannot be understood in isolation from the Libyan experience, which appears to have set an unfortunate precedent for intervention. Instead of lending credibility, R2P implementation in Libya only fuelled suspicions that the principle is synonymous with regime change and loose resolution interpretations. (…)
(…) Now is a prime opportunity to experiment with Brazil’s “responsibility while protecting” (RWP) idea.
(…) By failing to speak up on RWP in Syria, Brazil appears to be adopting the same hypocrisy its new idea is committed to abolishing. It is also missing a fundamental opportunity to assert itself as an emerging middle power.
(…) An upcoming UN dialogue on R2P’s third pillar is scheduled for Sept. 5. If R2P is to ever gain the full support of dissenter states such as China or Russia, scholars and stakeholders must work to ensure RWP gets more attention. (…)
Read the full article.