Special Envoy of Minister of Foreign Affairs Qatar Integrates Responsibility for Protecting Civilians in Its Foreign Policy

HE Dr. Mutlaq bin Majid Al Qahtani, Special Envoy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Combating Terrorism and Mediation in Dispute Resolution and the National Focal Point for the Responsibility to Protect Civilians from Cruel Crimes has underlined that the State of Qatar had integrated responsibility for protecting civilians from atrocities, particularly war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and ethnic cleansing in its foreign policy.

Speaking at the 8th Annual Meeting of the Global Network of R2P Focal Points in Helsinki, Finland , HE Ambassador Mutlaq bin Majid Al-Qahtani said that the integration was done by addressing the root causes of violence in some countries and societies and trying to address the domestic motives for violence, including violent extremism, which could lead to terrorism and atrocities in some States, as well as through good offices, mediation and preventive diplomacy to prevent and resolve conflicts.

He noted that the State of Qatar believes in constructive partnership and cooperation in this regard, so it has been working closely with national NGOs and civil society organizations such as Education Above All, Educate A Child and Silatech. He pointed to its deep policy of economic empowerment and equal opportunities throughout the Middle East with a view to addressing the root causes of violence and preventing the outbreak and spread of conflicts in the region, which suffers from unequal opportunities, inequality, poverty and lack of adequate education.

He pointed out that the State of Qatar focuses on good offices, mediation and preventive diplomacy to prevent mass atrocities and stop them as an effective tool to protect civilians. He referred to the efforts of the State of Qatar in Darfur to establish lasting and sustainable peace in the region and to continue implementing the Doha Agreement and encouraging other rebel groups to join the agreement besides focusing on sustainable development to maintain peace achieved.

He also revealed that the State of Qatar is currently making intensive efforts and consultations between the conflicting parties in Afghanistan in order to achieve peace there, adding that Doha had supported the declaration of the latest ceasefire and urged the Taliban to agree to a cease-fire for the first time in the past 17 years, hoping that this would contribute to the preservation of civilian lives.

He said that the State of Qatar had worked to prevent further atrocities against the Muslim minority in the province of Arakan (Rohingya), and sought to build confidence between Myanmar and Bangladesh in preparation to put an end to this crisis .. He added that talks with these parties and other actors are continuing.

He said that the State of Qatar participated in a very early stage and quiet diplomacy behind the scenes to resolve the constitutional crisis in Gambia, noting that Qatar assessed the risks early and continued with the leaders of the Gambia and Senegal . He pointed out that this early collective approach led to the peaceful transfer of power with the help of the countries of the region .

HE Ambassador Al-Qahtani said that the responsibility for protection is a legal obligation for all countries. “All UN member states have been bound by this commitment at least since 2005, when world leaders agreed unanimously in the 2005 World Summit document, the obligation of States not to kill their own people and to protect them from heinous crimes or mass atrocities.

“All of our countries are members of the United Nations and part of this document and therefore committed to the responsibility of protecting civilians,” he said. “We must always keep this in mind and should be seen as a starting point for our discussions on the appropriateness and importance of the responsibility to protect our countries and our foreign policies, from a legal perspective. “, he added.

“It is very important to bear in mind that failure to prevent and stop atrocities would have serious consequences for all of us,” said Dr. Al Qahtani. “Look at the crisis in Syria as an example and its consequences for all .” He stressed the importance of integrating responsibility for protection from the strategic perspective as well. “

HE the Special Envoy touched on how the State of Qatar had integrated the responsibility for protection in its foreign policy, referring to its first step in 2015 to appoint a senior official as its national focal point, noting that Qatar is the first country in the Middle East to do so and remained the only one in the region until Jordan joined it last year.

HE Ambassador Mutlaq bin Majed Al-Qahtani , Special Envoy of the Foreign Minister of the State of Qatar for Counterterrorism and Mediation of Conflict Resolution, and the National Focal Point for the Responsibility to Protect civilians from Cruel Crimes at the Global Network of R2P Focal Points said “As national focal points, we all have a heavy burden and a tremendous responsibility to explain the concept of responsibility for protection and suitability, to raise awareness locally and regionally, and more importantly to integrate the responsibility of protection into our foreign policy,” adding that this is not an easy but not impossible task.

HE Al-Qahtani added that since then we have begun to explain the concept of this principle and have been able to raise awareness and have focused deeply on supporting initiatives to help communities and vulnerable to fulfill their key commitments through the use of good offices, mediation and other forms of preventive diplomacy to prevent and stop mass atrocities.

HE explained that first we thought of the need to raise awareness about the responsibility for protection in our region and in the Gulf region in particular, so we organized the first high-level workshop on the responsibility for protection for the GCC in Doha in January 2017 in cooperation with the Global Center For the Responsibility To Protect and the United Nations.

HE said we have realized that there is an urgent need for this awareness because of the atrocities committed in Yemen and all the Gulf countries, including the current blockade countries, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, participated in this workshop and were grateful to the State of Qatar for these efforts, and for building their capacity in this regard.

HE said also that we have had open discussions about what is going on in Yemen and the need to stop this war, but we were disappointed for not responding to these calls, and we felt that the adventurous policy was beginning to emerge or was looming.

HE added that what is surprising is that four months later, some of these countries imposed a barbaric blockade on us in flagrant violation of international laws and norms, stressing that the leadership, government and people of Qatar are now stronger than ever, and now we have more partners, allies and friends than ever and all of them deserve to be thanked for their support to the State of Qatar, including the member states of this alliance.

HE pointed out that the State of Qatar continued its efforts in this regard and hosted the Seventh Annual Meeting of the Global Network of R2P Focal Points in April last year and Qatar was also selected in December last year to co-chair with Italy the Group of Friends of the Responsibility To Protect in New York, and Qatar has done so much in a short time.

HE Dr. Al-Qahtani considered as important that national focal points be able to establish an early warning and risk identification system, noting that early warning and early prevention are equally important, adding that we should always bear in mind that prevention is indeed an ongoing process and must therefore be preserved.

HE the Special Envoy expressed the belief that there was more work to be done in the area of the prevention of mass atrocities, adding that we should continue to call on Member States to increase their involvement in strengthening the responsibility to protect civilians from atrocities, in particular war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and ethnic cleansing and thus to improve the efforts of the international community to prevent and stop such atrocities.

HE Ambassador Mutlaq bin Majed Al-Qahtani expressed his thanks and appreciation to the Government of Finland for organizing and hosting the meeting, and thanked the Government of Mexico for its continued support for this initiative and the Global Center For the Responsibility To Protect for its efforts in promoting the international protection responsibility network.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs