Refugees, IDPs and the Responsibility to Protect (R2P): The Case of Darfur

In: Global Responsibility to Protect
Howard Adelman
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During the first decade of the twenty-first century, a campaign developed and succeeded in establishing a new doctrine in international affairs called the 'Responsibility to Protect' which had a prevention and a rehabilitation dimension but was mostly focused on the rights and responsibilities of states to intervene in the domestic affairs of other states when the latter failed to protect their citizens from mass atrocities. Movements grew up around the doctrine to publicise it, analyse it, and ensure its implementation. An example of the latter is W2I, the 'Will to Intervene' which, unlike R2P, did not require UN authorisation for intervention as part of its platform. A key test of the doctrine was Darfur. Yet the study of the case indicates no likelihood of intervention even under the Obama regime that was committed to doing something about Darfur and has put multilateralism at the forefront of its foreign policy. The report concludes by contrasting the huge discrepancy between the rhetorical success in the adoption of R2P as an international norm and the absence of practices consistent with that sweeping victory. The paper suggests that advances in international norms are best indicated, not by the endorsement of general principles, but by the development of actual practices on the ground.

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