26 February 2015

The University of Queensland is co-hosting a significant conference in Cambodia today and tomorrow to mark the 10th anniversary of the United Nations' unanimous adoption of the Responsibility to Protect process.

The Phnom Penh event has attracted 200 representatives from East Asian countries who are exploring the progress, challenges and opportunities that lie ahead to bring the R2P principles into action across the Asia Pacific and beyond.

“R2P is a framework for preventing and responding to mass atrocities such as genocide and other crimes against humanity,” said UQ Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences executive dean Professor Tim Dunne, who is at the conference.

"It has made great strides in its first decade.” 

He said the conference focus would be on assisting states in the region to build resilience in the hope of preventing future atrocities.

“With the support of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, UQ's Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect has been at the forefront of the dissemination of policy-relevant research on atrocity prevention,” Professor Dunne said.

Speakers include leaders from the United Nations, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, special adviser to the UN Secretary-General Jennifer Welsh, UN special representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Bangura, and International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.

Conference activities include plenary speeches, panels and roundtable sessions about policy questions related to R2P. It was preceded by a UN consultation with member states and will be followed by a regional civil society consultation.

The United Nations has established an Office for Genocide Prevention and R2P, charged with monitoring situations and providing early warning advice.

The office has been training government and UN officials to prevent genocide and other mass atrocities, working with UN in-country teams, and publicly reminding leaders of their responsibilities.

The conference is being run in partnership with UQ’s Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, the Cambodian Institute for Co-operation and Peace, the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, The Stanley Foundation and the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect.

For further details click here or view the program overview.

Media: Professor Tim Dunne: 0466 749161 or tim.dunne@uq.edu.au or Carolina Caliaba Crespo r2pinfo@uq.edu.au.