The Responsibility of Canada to Protect in Mali

While Prime Minister Harper and the opposition parties have agreed to ongoing all-party discussions in the House of Commons on Canada’s future engagement in Mali, the World Federalist Movement – Canada today released a briefing paper on "The Responsibility to Protect in Mali: Benchmarks for effective Canadian policy."

The responsibility to protect (R2P) is an emerging international norm that guides policy and actions to shield populations from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing. Public attention is often focused on the most controversial aspects of the R2P norm (i.e. those “pillar three” interventions that also involve use of force). However, it is R2P’s pillar two, i.e. the responsibility of the international community to assist the national government, that has been invoked by the United Nations Security Council with respect to the international community’s involvement in Mali.

The United Nations is developing a comprehensive program to assist the political transition process in Mali. Also, at the UN Security Council there is recognition that additional decisions will be required to determine the configuration of future peace operations, following the creation of the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA).

WFM – Canada recommends that:

  1. Canadian assistance should be directed through the United Nations led overarching framework for the transition process in Mali.

  2. Canadian troops should also form part of the soon to be authorized UN peace operation in Mali.

     

Benchmarks for effective Canadian engagement therefore include support for:

  • Restoration of the constitutional order and holding of elections;

  • Dialogue and reconciliation with legitimate representatives of the populations of northern Mali;

  • Reform of the Malian army and security forces;

  • Strengthened mechanisms to restore the rule of law and respect for human rights;

  • Financial support for the African Union and ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States).

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