The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) participated in the International Conference on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) at 10: Progress, Challenges and Opportunities in the Asia Pacific Region held last 26-27 February 2015 at the Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra, Cambodia. FSI Deputy Director-General Julio Amador III and Foreign Affairs Research Specialist RJ Marco Lorenzo C. Parcon represented the Institute.
Deputy Director-General Amador chaired the conference’s session onStrengthening Women’s Rights: the Prevention of Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict and Humanitarian Emergencies, with Indonesia’s Deputy Minister for Women Protection Mudjiati, Dr. Ma. Lourdes Veneracion-Rallonza, Ms. Devanna De La Puente, and Theresa De Langis as panelists. They all agreed that R2P is complimentary to the discourse on Women, Peace and Security because the principle seeks to further protect women, children and girls in armed conflict.
Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen opened the conference, and in his address he reported that Cambodia has reviewed the High Level Panel Advisory Report on the Responsibility to Protect in Southeast Asia, and that Cambodia will act onthe report’s recommendations. He underscored several roles for Cambodia in promoting R2P, including being the main coordinator and lead focal point among ASEAN member states in relation to R2P projects, especially those on managing risk factors and regional dialogues, among others.
The two-day conference emphasized the importance of R2P’s Pillar Two (assisting states to fulfill their responsibility to protect) and the prevention of mass atrocity crimes. Speakers and panelists agreed that to further assist states to attain their responsibility to protect, collaboration is imperative and that effective partnership must be built. Speakers also pointed out that the principles and commitments of ASEAN member states converge with the norms and principles of R2P, and that tools and instruments to promote R2P are already in place. The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation can serve as entry points for R2P in the organization.