Asia faces numerous small scale internal conflicts, which has the potential to destabilise fragile or failing states, and pose serious challenges to others. Most of these conflicts arised from threats, which are transnational in their nature and consequence, and also fall under the general rubric of non-traditional security. The Southeast Asia (SEA) region in particular, is a hotbed for complex, internal conflicts where seeds of greater problems can be sown, turning it into a fulcrum for larger conflicts not just within a state but also between states. Some salient examples are the ongoing or dormant conflicts in Aceh in Indonesia, Mindanao in the southern Philippines, Narathiwat, Pattani, Songkhla and Yala in southern Thailand, Kashmir in India, and the civil strife in Sri Lanka.
It is against this background that the RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies will be organising a study group meeting and a regional consultation session to explore how SEA states could benefit through a common appreciation of the principles of the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP). RtoP refers to a states’ responsibility to protect its own citizens in the face of four specific mass atrocity crimes: war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing, and their incitement. Please click here for the United Nations document on RtoP.
The RtoP study group meeting, will be held on 7 April 2010, followed by a two-day consultation session, titled Regional Consultation on the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP), which will be held from 8 April 2010 to 9 April 2010. The venue for both events is the Traders’s Hotel, Singapore.
More than 20 international scholars and experts on international security and RtoP will be participating in these events. Of particular interest is Lieutenant General Satish Nambiar, who was the first Force Commander and Head of Mission of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) in the former Yugoslavia. General’s Nambiar commanded the UNPROFOR from March 1992 to March 1993. His biographical data can be downloaded here.
Over the course of three days, these international scholars and experts from various fields will study the following issues:
- Mapping out and understanding the different voices on RtoP in Asia – both from state and non-state actors;
- Broadening the community of individuals and institutions involved in the shaping of a normative security architecture in Asia;
- Examining the existing regional mechanisms or lack of it for civilian protection from mass atrocities;
- Analysing the significance of efforts at operationalising the RtoP in Asia on the wider, global community;
- Exploring how the RtoP can be advanced in tandem with significant regional developments in human rights and human security.
The study group meeting and consultation session are part of the Centre’s Internal and Cross-Border Conflict programme, which amongst other things, seek to eexplore the linkages between internal conflicts and multi-level and multi-lateral approaches to managing them, and to examine how the RtoP principle can be adapted and applied in Asia. More details on this programme can be found on the Centre’s website here.
For more information, kindly refer to the program here.
For media and other queries, please contact Ms Cheryl Lim at [email protected].