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At UN, "Responsibility While Protecting" Is So Hot That No Press Allowed, of Rwanda, Iraq & Syria

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 21, updated -- The "Responsibility While Protecting," proposed by Brazil in connection with NATO's bombing of and some countries' arming of rebels in Libya, is a hot topic at the UN -- so hot that the "debate" on it Tuesday afternoon was largely closed to the Press.

  On his way in, Pakistan's Permanent Representative Abdullah Hussain Haroon told Inner City Press he would delive a "seven page speech." In the General Assembly last week, he cautioned that some of the talk about Syria is seen as the fifth targeting in a row of a Muslim country.

  Syria's Permanent Representative Bashar Ja'afari was in Tuesday afternoon's meeting, the beginning of which was open to the Press as a photo opportunity until Brazil's Minister of External Relations of Brazil, Antonio de Aguiar Patriota gaveled the meeting to order.

  Rwanda's genial Permanent Representative said his speech would be hard hitting, and invited Inner City Press to stay and hear it. But it was said that the meeting was closed to the media, even as other scribes remained in the room (Inner City Press declined to identify them when asked -- while there should be no double standards, at least some information coming out is better than none.)

  As so for now regarding Rwanda we can quote only from Brazil's concept paper, on

"the international community’s failure to act in a timely manner to prevent violence on the scale of that observed in Rwanda.

Syria's Ja'afari with Brazil's Viotti &
Patriota (c) MRLee Feb 21, 2012

There may be situations in which the international community might contemplate military action to prevent humanitarian catastrophes. Yet attention must also be paid to the fact that the world today suffers the painful consequences of interventions that have aggravated existing conflicts, allowed terrorism to penetrate into places where it previously did not exist, given rise to new cycles of violence and increased the vulnerability of civilian populations."

   The latter reference would seem to be to Iraq. Why not make these critiques public? Watch this site.

Update: Twenty minutes after the above article was published, Brazil's mission issued the opening statement of Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, concluding

"We have invited all Member States as well as NGOs and specialists who have worked on this subject. We have received requests for the floor from (...). I would ask other participants to signal their wish to speak so that we can close the list of speakers. I would like to encourage speakers to be as concise as possible and limit their statements to three minutes, so that we can benefit from the widest possible participation. We will conclude today's discussion with remarks by the co-chairs. I now give the floor to Professor Edward Luck.”

   Meanwhile back at the Security Council, one Political Coordinator wag joked he would organize an event called "Responsibility While Being Protected."

Update of 7:45 pm -- The session in Conference Room 3 from which the Press was excluded ended at 6:30 pm; six or seven of the countries which had signed up to speak were not able to.

  Over at Brazil's mission to the UN, a press conference ensued with Antonio de Aguiar Patriota. Inner City Press asked him about his concept paper's reference to the Security Council ensuring "the accountability of those to whom authorities is granted to resort to force" -- did this mean stripping immunity from peacekeepers like those serving and abusing in Haiti? Or stripping immunity for example from NATO, when anyone not a member of the ICC was exempted from referral to the ICC by resolution 1970, which Brazil voted for?

  Antonio de Aguiar Patriota replied "that is something for member states to decide," then spoke about how to end a mandate, in a "Group of Friends" or other ad hoc group, or about modifying a resolution in one side started getting armed "by outside forces." But what about accountability?

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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