Ambassador Dr Mutlaq bin Majed al-Qahtani, the Special Envoy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Counterterrorism, Mediation in Dispute Resolution and the National Focal Point for the Responsibility to Protect Civilians from Cruel Crimes at the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect Focal Points, underlined that Qatar has integrated responsibility for protecting civilians from atrocities, particularly war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and ethnic cleansing, in its foreign policy.

Addressing the annual ninth meeting of the Global Network of R2P Focal Points in Brussels, Ambassador Dr al-Qahtani said that this integration has been done by addressing the root causes of violence in some countries and societies and by trying to address the local drivers of violence, including violent extremism that could lead to terrorism and atrocities in some countries, as well as through good offices, mediation and preventive diplomacy to prevent and resolve conflicts.

He stressed that the responsibility to protect represents a legal obligation for all countries, and that all member-states of the United Nations had been bound by this commitment at least since 2005, when world leaders agreed on that unanimously in the 2005 World Summit document, which refers to the obligation of States not to kill their people and to protect them from heinous crimes or mass atrocities.

All member-states of the United Nations are part of this document and therefore committed to the responsibility to protect civilians and must always keep this in mind and consider it as the starting point for discussions on the appropriateness and importance of the responsibility to protect countries and foreign policies from a legal perspective, ambassador al-Qahtani added.

He noted that failure to prevent and stop atrocities will have dire consequences for all, referring to the Syrian crisis as an example which consequences have affected all.

He stressed the importance of integrating the responsibility for protection with the foreign policies from a strategic perspective as well.

Ambassador al-Qahtani underlined importance for the National Focal Point to be able to establish and conduct an early warning and risk identification system, noting that early warning and early prevention are equally important, and that prevention is indeed a continuous process and must be maintained.

He noted that there is more work to be done in the area of the prevention of mass atrocities, stressing that member-states should continue to be called upon to increase their involvement in strengthening the obligation to protect civilians from atrocities, in particular war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and ethnic cleansing, thereby improving the efforts of the international community to prevent and stop such atrocities.

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