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Standing Together for Security at Camp David

John Kirton, G8 Research Group
May 20, 2012

The G8 leaders at Camp David stood together for global peace and security in an impressively committed, comprehensive and innovative way. There was a striking degree of unanimity on difficult and divisive issues just as Syria and Iran, where Russia and its G8 partners had had distinctly different views. They comprehensively covered the regional security priorities of Syria, Iran, North Korea, Burma/Myanmar, Libya and the core conventional global security issues of transnational organized crime, terrorism, drug traffickers, and non-proliferation and disarmament. And the Camp David Summit innovatively raised the issue of women’s rights in the context of security and forged the link between security, human rights, and maternal and child health.The G8’s conception of the human rights that are a requisite for the region was an expansive one. It embraced the gender dimension — “respect the rights of women and girls.” And it extended to the “right to practice religious faith in safety and security,” a statement of solace to Coptic Christians whose lives were in danger in Egypt.The G8’s conception of the human rights that are a requisite for the region was an expansive one. It embraced the gender dimension — “respect the rights of women and girls.” And it extended to the “right to practise religious faith in safety and security,” a statement of solace to Coptic Christians whose lives were in danger in Egypt.

The G8’s foundational mission of open democracy formed the foundation for the G8’s approach to Syria, Iran, North Korea, women, Burma/Myanmar and Libya. In all cases, the G8 went beyond the current challenges to call for deeper political change to meet these ideals. On Syria the Camp David Summit called not only for an end to violence and access to United Nations monitors but also for a “Syrian-led, inclusive political transition leading to a democratic, plural political system” — a regime change of a particular sort by another name. On Iran it demanded an “exclusively peaceful” nuclear program as well as a government that would “uphold human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of religion, and end interference with the media, arbitrary executions, torture, and other restrictions placed on rights and freedoms.” And in deference to Japan, the G8 stated its concern “about human rights violations in the [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea], including the situation of political prisoners and the abductions issue.”

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