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OAS designates special adviser on the responsibility to protect

WASHINGTON, USA – The secretary-general of the Organization of American States (OAS) Luis Almagro, designated international human rights lawyer Jared Genser as Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P).

The work of the Special Adviser will begin with analyzing, studying and debating how to develop a mechanism for the OAS to prevent and respond to mass atrocity crimes in the region with all interested parties and as a consequence formulating suggested possible courses of action by the Organization.

The OAS cannot remain silent and become another international bystander to past and ongoing mass atrocities. If existing international mechanisms are not responding to the demands and needs of the victims of mass atrocities in the Americas, at the very least the OAS should try to design and build a regional mechanism that can prevent and respond more efficiently, and in a timely manner, to crimes of this nature in the Western Hemisphere. The costs of not having an R2P regional mechanism at the OAS so far have been the continued loss of human lives and the persistence of impunity for mass atrocities crimes.

It is expected that the designation of Genser will develop a new innovative regional complement to the Responsibility to Protect, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly at the 2005 World Summit.

This appointment will build upon efforts of the GS/OAS since 2017 to prevent and respond to mass atrocities in the Americas, when the escalation of human rights violations and the systematic attack against the civilian population indicate the presence of crimes against humanity. The agenda of R2P in the Americas remains a priority at the OAS as it is closely tied to the advancement of the prevention of genocide and crimes against humanity.

Secretary-General Luis Almagro said “Going back to our founding, the OAS has sought to secure peace, justice, and human rights for the peoples of the Americas. Yet, over time, there have been mass atrocities committed in far too many countries by repressive and undemocratic regimes. One need look no further than the crimes against humanity being committed today, which come from a deliberate, methodical, and systematic strategy, to understand the consequences of our failure to act together.

Among other positions held in his professional career, Jared Genser is managing director of Perseus Strategies, a public interest law firm, and an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center. He is co-editor of The Responsibility to Protect: The Promise of Stopping Mass Atrocities in Our Times (Oxford University Press) and The UN Security Council in the Age of Human Rights (Cambridge University Press). He is the author of The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention: Commentary and Guide to Practice (Cambridge University Press).



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