The ADC Gandel Oration
Delivered by Gareth Evans, President of the International Crisis Group
Presented by The Anti-defamation Commission of the B'nai B'rith organisation
Tuesday 2 May 2006
Atrocity Crimes refers in international law to genocide, crimes against humanity, and serious war crimes.
Gareth Evans: "State sovereignty is not a license to kill….it carries with it the responsibility to protect the people. When others fail in their responsibility, it carries an obligation to act to meet that responsibility for them - not to turn away in indifference, saying it is none of our business."
With a background in law, Gareth Evans entered Parliament in 1978. Highlights of his 21 year parliamentary career are his 13 years as a cabinet minister in two Labor Governments, a stint as Attorney-General and being one of Australia's longer-serving Foreign Ministers (1988-96). His major achievements include developing the UN peace plan for Cambodia, initiating APEC and helping to conclude the Chemical Weapons Convention.
He has been a member of many international panels and commissions. He is an Officer in the Order of Australia, and has received numerous awards, including Australian Humanist of the Year in 1990 and the ANZAC Peace Prize in 1994 for his work on Cambodia.
The Anti-Defamation Commission
Opposing racism and antisemitism - Promoting tolerance and justice
The Anti-Defamation Commission was established by B’nai Brith (a non-profit benevolent society) in 1979 and charged with combating all forms of racial prejudice. In the past 25 years, the Commission has exposed the activities of organisations whose aim is to defame targeted religious, cultural and ethnic groups in Australia and New Zealand. The Annual Oration is a prestigious community event and affords an opportunity to hear eminent persons with strong human rights credentials. Past speakers have included Lord Woolf, The Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales; Professor Irwin Cotler, Professor of Law at McGill University; Jose Ramos Horta; and former Prime Ministers Malcolm Fraser and Bob Hawke.
BIOGRAPHY Gareth Evans: President, International Crisis Group
Gareth Evans has been since January 2000 President and Chief Executive of the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, which has become one of the world’s leading independent, non-government sources of information, analysis and advice on issues of conflict prevention and resolution and violent extremism.
With over 110 full-time staff on five continents, Crisis Group has made its mark, in particular, in the post-9/11 analysis of terrorist threats, and the roots of Islamist violence, from Indonesia to Pakistan to the Gulf; in the peace processes for Congo, Burundi, Sudan, Sierra Leone and Liberia; in the tumultuous series of crises, and painful and protracted business of peacebuilding, throughout the Balkans; in its promotion of peace strategies in the Middle East, from Israel-Palestine to Iraq; in generating new international pressures on authoritarian regimes in Central Asia; in identifying new strategies for movement out of the morass in Colombia; and in articulating clear strategies for resolving the nuclear standoffs in North Korea and Iran, and the cross-Strait tension between China and Taiwan.
Gareth Evans came to Crisis Group after 21 years in Australian politics, thirteen of them as a Cabinet Minister in the Hawke and Keating Governments, including a stint as Attorney-General: before entering Parliament in 1978 he had been an academic lawyer specialising in constitutional and civil liberties, and a barrister specialising in industrial law. As one of Australia’s longer-serving Foreign Ministers (1988-96) he was best known internationally for his role in developing the UN peace plan for Cambodia, in helping conclude the Chemical Weapons Convention, and in initiating APEC and other new regional economic and security architecture in the Asia Pacific.
He has been a member of many blue-ribbon international panels and commissions including the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on 21st century security threats and the Blix Commission on Weapons of Mass Destruction. His best known such role was as Co-Chair of the Canadian-sponsored International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, with the concept of the “responsibility to protect” which emerged from its report in December 2001, proving to have enduring importance as the world struggles to find consensus on how to deal with genocide and other atrocity crimes occurring within state borders. The unanimous acceptance of ‘R2P’ as a limitation on state sovereignty by the World Summit in September 2005 has been widely regarded as one of the biggest, and potentially most significant, normative shifts to have occurred in international relations in recent times.
Gareth Evans is an honorary fellow at Magdalen College Oxford, has honorary doctorates from Melbourne and Carleton Universities, is an Officer in the Order of Australia and has received a number of other awards including Australian Humanist of the Year in 1990, the ANZAC Peace Prize in 1994 for his work on Cambodia, and in the United States in 1995 the $150,000 Grawemeyer Prize for Ideas Improving World Order for his Foreign Policy article “Cooperative Security and Intrastate Conflict”. He has written or edited eight books – including Cooperating for Peace, launched at the UN in 1993 – and has published over ninety journal articles and chapters on foreign relations, human rights, race relations, and legal, constitutional and political reform.
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