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         6 December 2002

On Monday, 16 December, the United Nations University (UNU) and the Canadian Embassy in Japan will host a half-day seminar on The Responsibility to Protect, the report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS). The seminar, which will start at 9:30 a.m. at the UN House in Tokyo, will bring together policy makers, academics, analysts and practitioners involved in areas of international peace and security, conflict prevention and human rights to discuss the responsibility of states and the international community to protect civilians.

Over the past decade, the world has witnessed a tide of civil conflict, war crimes, humanitarian crises and, most recently, the deadly rise of terrorism. As the principle that state sovereignty involves a responsibility to ensure justice and personal security for individuals has gained increasingly broad international recognition, so too has the notion that when states are unable or unwilling to exercise this responsibility, that role must be assumed by the community of states. It is clear that failed states can pose threats to stability and security far beyond their borders.

In an effort to advance the collective security debate and revisit the challenges of "humanitarian intervention," Canada established the independent ICISS in September 2000. The Commission formally presented its report on The Responsibility to Protect to the UN community in December 2001, and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan included the report at the Security Council's annual private retreat in May. While follow-up efforts to this initiative have been organized at the UN and with governments, experts and NGOs around the world, the 16 December seminar is one of the first national-level efforts to broaden public awareness and engagement in building a greater global consensus on a human protection role for the international community.

Speakers at the half-day seminar will include Gareth Evans, Co-Chair of the ICISS, President and Chief Executive of the International Crisis Group, and former Foreign Minister of Australia; Ramesh Thakur, Vice-Rector of the UNU and ICISS Commissioner; Marie Gervais-Vidricaire, Director General, Global Issues Bureau of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Canada; Yoichi Otabe, Deputy Director General, Foreign Policy Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan; and John McCarthy, Australian Ambassador to Japan and former Australian Ambassador to Indonesia and the United States.

Media representatives are cordially invited to attend.

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For further information please contact: the UNU Public Affairs Section
Tel. (03) 5467-1243, -1246; Fax (03) 3406-7346




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