Mapping Dissent: The Responsibility to Protect and Its State Critics

In: Global Responsibility to Protect

Addressing dissent, also known as ‘rejectionism’, will broaden and deepen the global consensus on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) principle. However, how should scholars understand the objections raised by state critics? To answer this question, I analyse R2P opposition as presented in official UN transcripts, voting records, and resolutions. The article reveals that six related themes of dissent exist with varying degrees of emphasis amongst opponents. Conventional depictions of R2P opposition, such as the absolute sovereignty or North vs. South explanations, are therefore inadequate representations of the diverse range of arguments employed by dissenters. Ultimately, I conclude that in order to build consensus at the expense of dissent, the principle should be further developed around four key notions: 1) non-coercive prevention and domestic capacity building, 2) enhanced prudential criteria for intervention, 3) global norm entrepreneurship from the Global South, and 4) veto restraint in R2P scenarios.

  • 3

     See Jonas Claes‘Protecting Civilians from Mass Atrocities: Meeting the Challenge of R2P Rejectionism’Global Responsibility to Protect4/1: 67-97 (2012), and Mónica Serrano, ‘The Responsibility to Protect and its Critics: Explaining the Consensus’, Global Responsibility to Protect, 3/4: 425-437 (2011).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 6

    On 12 February 2013the Security Council also released a statement reaffirming its commitment to R2P. See ‘Statement by the President of the Security Council’, S/PRST/2013/2, 12 February 2013.

  • 8

    Jonas Claes‘Protecting Civilians from Mass Atrocities: Meeting the Challenge of R2P Rejectionism’Global Responsibility to Protect4/1: 67-97 (2012), p. 70.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 11

    S/PV.5225, 12 July 2005.

  • 14

    A/63/PV.99, 24 July 2009p. 26.

  • 15

    A/63/PV.98, 24 July 2009p. 4.

  • 17

    S/PV.6531, 10 May 2011p. 9.

  • 29

    S/PV.5781, 20 November 2007p. 10.

  • 32

    S/PV.5476, 28 June 2006p. 14.

  • 33

    A/63/PV.100, 28 July 2009p. 18.

  • 42

    A/63/PV.99, 24 July 2009p. 6.

  • 43

    A/59/PV.86, 6 April 2005p. 5.

  • 44

    A/63/PV.99, 24 July 2009.

  • 45

    A/63/PV.101, 28 July 2009.

  • 48

    A/63/PV.98, 24 July 2009p. 4.

  • 52

    BanResponsibility to Protect: Timely and Decisive Response, p. 14.

  • 56

    Ronald Krebs and Patrick Jackson‘Twisting Tongues and Twisting Arms: The Power of Political Rhetoric’European Journal of International Relations13/1: 35-66 (2007), p. 57-58. This argument finds itself in the emerging school of ‘coercive constructivism’.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 59

    A/66/L.42, 28 March 2012p. 5.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 250 114 16
Full Text Views 337 54 3
PDF Downloads 91 46 5