A Regional Policy Forum on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) organized by the ECOWAS Commission through its Early Warning Department has ended in Abuja with stakeholders canvassing for closer involvement of the African Union (A.U), the United Nations (U.N) and relevant Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to enhance and strengthen the Community’s Early Warning and Response Mechanisms.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the forum on Tuesday, participants were quoted as re-affirming that ECOWAS has been engaging with the core principles of R2P, in line with its 1999 collective security and responsibility mechanism.
They also recommended that the different stakeholders involved in implementation of the R2P at Regional and National Levels should enhance the financial and logistical capabilities of the ECOWAS Standby Force (ESF) to react when the need arises, in accordance with the third Pillar of R2P doctrine.
In addition the Forum called on Member States of ECOWAS to establish National Focal Points on R2P, based on their respective local context. This, according to the Forum, would also mean ensuring cross-partnership between Governments and the CSOs.
The need to incorporate the principles of R2P into the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) was further reiterated, while CSOs were encouraged to continue to engage with regional and continental structures and also strengthen Mechanisms for monitoring, reporting as well as advocate adherence to R2P Principles.
UN and Regional Organizations were also urged to prioritize adherence to the principles of pacific Settlement of issues relating to R2P.
The Forum further urged the Early Warning Directorate of ECOWAS to provide support National structures on R2P in order to enhance their effective operationalization.
The Forum had the active participation of the U.N, regional organizations, the diplomatic corps, civil society organizations as well as research institutions.
It would be recalled that R2P was endorsed by United Nations (UN) Member States during the 2005 World Summit. The main focus of the R2P is to prevent and respond to Genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and war against humanity.
To achieve this, the implementation of R2P is based on three pillars namely: the primary and continuing legal obligation of states; the commitment by the international community to assist states fulfill their obligation and; international responsibility to respond in a timely and decisive manner and in agreement to the UN Charter to protect population from genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity.