Minister Kyenge’s Statement on the Responsibility to Protect


On the occasion of the last meeting of the UN General Assembly Informal Interactive Dialogue on the Responsibility to Protect, held on 11 September 2013, the Minister for Integration, Cécile Kyenge made a statement concerning the meaning of Responsibility to Protect for democratic constituencies. According to the Minister, even in democratic countries social vulnerability and segregation may constitute a “risk factor” within the meaning of the Secretary-General’s report on “Implementing the Responsibility to Protect”. She stated:

Eight years after the solemn affirmation at the World Summit of 2005 – for the first time in the history of international relations – of the principle of the “Responsibility to Protect,” we are still debating the specific modalities to implement this principle concretely. This year’s debate is dedicated to the first pillar of the doctrine, which focuses mainly on the role of the States. It builds on the new concept that each State has the responsibility to protect its people from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

The Secretary-General’s report dwells on “risk factors” inherent to the social realities of our countries, which, if neglected, can escalate into mass atrocities. It also lists an entire series of preventive measures that States can adopt to prevent a downward spiral into forms of discrimination that can lead to the perpetration of atrocities and outright crimes against humanity.

Italy feels strongly that we must feel vigilant toward these risk factors. We thus actively support the efforts underway at the United Nations to develop adequate monitoring instruments for this purpose.

And she added:

Is there a need to prevent atrocity crimes in democratic countries too? And how can we do this?

We must focus our attention on how to eliminate the two main causes of risk of atrocities in democratic countries: social vulnerability and contexts of segregation and invisibility.

The full Italian version of the statement made by the Minister for Integration can be found at:

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