On September 13, a columnist with Shekhar Gupta’s ThePrint, CJ Werleman, called for sanctions and a ‘regime decapitation strike’ by the United Nations under Responsibility to Protect (R2P). He said, “We are fast approaching the moment the UN will be required to invoke R-2-P to protect 300 million Muslims, Sikhs and Christians from genocide in India. Possible measures include Censure. Sanctions. Regime decapitation strike.”
What is Responsibility to Protect?
The Responsibility to Protect (R2) is an international norm adopted by the international community in 2005 as a response to the failure to adequately respond to mass atrocities committed in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda in the 1990s. The concept started to take shape in 2001 and was unanimously adopted in 2005 at the United Nations World Summit, the largest gathering of Heads of State and Government in history.
The details of R2P have been described in paragraphs 138 and 139 of the World Summit Outcome Document. Paragraph 138 says that each individual state has the responsibility to protect its population from war crimes, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and genocide. The state is responsible for preventing such crimes, including incitement, using the necessary and appropriate means.
It further reads, “The international community should as appropriate, encourage and help States to exercise this responsibility and support the United Nations in establishing an early warning capability.”
Paragraph 139 says, “The international community, through the United Nations, also has the responsibility to use appropriate diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means, in accordance with Chapters VI and VIII of the Charter, to help protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.”
The international community further intended to commit themselves to help the states to build capacity to protect the populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity and to assist the nations that are under stress before the conflict break out.
R2P has three pillars of responsibility:
Pillar one: Every state has the Responsibility to Protect its populations from four mass atrocity crimes: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing.
Pillar two: The wider international community has the responsibility to encourage and assist individual states in meeting that responsibility.
Pillar three: If a state is manifestly failing to protect its populations, the international community must be prepared to take appropriate collective action in a timely and decisive manner and in accordance with the UN Charter.
Is R2P a rule under international law?
R2P is not a rule of customary international law. It can be described as an international norm. In the case of R2P, it has been unanimously adopted the language of the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document. Though once a norm has gained formal acceptance but widespread usage, it can become part of the customary international law, R2P is still a norm and cannot be described as a rule.
India’s role in R2P implementations
During the World Summit, [Indian Perspectives on the ‘Responsibility to Protect’] the group of non-aligned countries led by India, including Pakistan, Brazil and Malaysia, emphasized the centrality of state sovereignty. They raised questions over the judiciousness of sole authority to the Security Council related to international peace and security issues. They considered such criteria as an ‘automatic trigger mechanism’ and stated that this would make the intervention more likely and highly problematic.
Nirupam Sen, then-Permanent Representative to the UN of India, constantly asked to raise the threshold for the application of R2P at the World Summit. He also stressed further adding more prerequisites for the approval of R2P. While talking about the necessary change in the institutional structure of the UN, he said, “R2P could work only if the institutional architecture of the United Nations is reformed significantly”.
Sen emphasized that the consent of the relevant regional organizations along with the consent of a reformed and expanded Security should be required for the application of R2P. He added that the permanent members should restrain from using the veto in cases where R2P’s application had already been determined by the General Assembly. India also raised concerns over using R2P to cover “conferring legitimacy to the idea of ‘military humanism”.
Since R2P became a norm, India’s approach has been evolving to conceptualize, formalize and implement it at the UN. India has reacted differently on a case-to-case basis in countries like Libya, Cote d’Ivoire, South Sudan, Syria, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. While India has been in favour of implementing Pillar One and Pillar Two of R2P but have shown reservations on the implementation of Pillar Three.
India has shown apprehensions that R2P is more likely to be misused, which was proven to be true in the case of Libya. India has laid out presumptive alternatives based upon the complex interplay of local factors, existing international affairs and the ideas of policymakers. It has emphasized localization of the global norms like R2P rather than normative internationalization.
Werleman is a habitual liar and a fake-news peddler. India is a vibrant democracy of over 1.3 billion people. It is one of the most important members of the UN for its population, secular democratic rule and geopolitical importance. India is the largest contributor to UN peacekeeping forces. India is currently holding the presidency of the UNSC and is actively working with the UN and other major nations to lead the war against Covid, poverty, energy crisis and climate change.
India is an emerging global superpower, attracting billions of dollars in foreign investments every year. The idea of the UN gearing up for major sanctions against India is ludicrous. Also, in the changing global picture, nations depend on each other for trade. India maintains a healthy bilateral relationship with most nations.
India’s constitution grants equal rights to persons of all faith and atheists too. The claims of the UN working against India is, like all of Werleman’s tweets, fake and a figment of his wild imaginations.
Call for Regime decapitation strike and Werleman’s agenda against Hindus in India
In his tweet, Werleman has called for a Regime decapitation strike, which is basically the use of military power to overturn the government in a nation where the UN believes the targeted population is under threat of atrocities like genocide and ethnic cleansing. In the case of India, a functional and secular democracy where there are no signs of organised violence against any minorities, minorities or targeted population, propagandists like Werleman have been constantly peddling fake news to claim that minorities are being targeted.
This is not the first time he ran propaganda against Hindus or the BJP-ruled government. Recently, he alleged that Hindus destroyed a Muslim graveyard in Himachal Pradesh. His tweet turned out to be fake news as reports came out an illegal Majar was demolished by the authorities.
In August 2018, he took to Twitter to wrongly claim that the BJP had banned the slaughter of livestock during Eid. Werlemen also claimed that the Police Officer was forcing an Imam to declare “Qurbani is a punishable crime” to his followers in the video that he had attached. As usual, his claims were false.
CJ Werlemen appears to have a particular grudge against Uttar Pradesh, probably because a saffron-clad monk is the Chief Minister of the state. In several tweets, he had mentioned Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath as a ‘Hindutva terrorist’. Werlemen is a habitual fake news peddler and incites violence and hatred against Hindus.
In 2018, Kasganj Police had exposed his false claims after Werlemen accused them of teaming up with ‘Hindu extremists’ to target Muslims. In a separate instance, this time not involving Uttar Pradesh, Werlemen used a video depicting the violence during the Bhima-Koregaon clashes in Maharashtra and claimed that it showed Hindus destroying Muslim property.