On 17 July 2020, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on the fifteenth anniversary of the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, as enshrined in the 2005 World Summit Outcome.

The resolution stresses:

‘that States have the primary responsibility for the promotion and protection of and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction of any kind, and reiterating the responsibility of each individual State to protect its population from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, which entails the prevention of such crimes, including their incitement, through appropriate and necessary means, and that the international community should, as appropriate, encourage and help States to exercise this responsibility and support the United Nations in establishing an early warning capability.’

The resolution:

  1. Decides to convene, before its forty-seventh session, an intersessional panel discussion to commemorate the fifteenth anniversary of the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, as enshrined in the 2005 World Summit Outcome, on the exchange of best practices on strengthening national policies and strategies to implement the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity through national mechanisms and other stakeholders;
  2. Requests the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to liaise with States, relevant United Nations bodies and agencies, the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, the Special Adviser to the SecretaryGeneral on the Responsibility to Protect, treaty bodies, special procedures and regional human rights mechanisms, and the Global Network of the Responsibility to Protect Focal Points, as well as with civil society, including non-governmental organizations, and national human rights institutions, with a view to ensuring their participation in the panel discussion, and to make the panel discussion fully accessible for persons with disabilities;
  3. Also requests the Office of the High Commissioner to prepare a summary report on the panel discussion and to submit it to the Human Rights Council at its forty-eighth session and to the General Assembly.

The resolution can be found here: https://undocs.org/A/HRC/44/L.12

The results of the vote are as follows :

In favour (32) : Afghanistan, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, Germany, Italy, Japan, Libya, Marshall Island, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Peru, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Senegal, Slovakia, Somalia, Spain, Togo, Ukraine and Uruguay.

Against (1) : Venezuela.

Abstentions (14) : Angola, Bahrain, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, India, Indonesia, Mauritania, Namibia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines and Sudan.

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