State Responsibility and Prevention in the Responsibility to Protect

Communal Violence in India

In: Global Responsibility to Protect
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  • 1 The Australian National University

This article responds to the 2013 un Secretary General’s (unsg) annual report on the Responsibility to Protect (r2p), titled ‘State Responsibility and Prevention’. The orientation of r2p as a tool for addressing risk factors for atrocity crimes in domestic contexts indicates a conceptual deepening and widening of r2p to provide states with an atrocity prevention lens within their jurisdiction. This article examines state policies and practices of protecting civilians during communal violence in India, arguing that progress on the First Pillar of r2p necessitates a conceptual shift at both the international level and at the domestic level. The politics surrounding communal violence in India provides an important case study to question the salience of r2p norms for domestic practices of state responsibility and prevention that are currently being promoted in the unsg agenda on r2p, and considers the implications this report has for states committed to a narrow interpretation of r2p.

  • 2

    Alex Bellamy, ‘Conflict Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect’, Global Governance, 14/2: 135–157 (2008); Bellamy, ‘Mass Atrocities and Armed Conflicts: Links, Distinctions, and Implications for the Responsibility to Prevent’, The Stanley Foundation Policy Analysis Brief, Muscatine, February 2011.

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  • 3

    Stephen McLoughlin, The Structural Prevention of Mass Atrocities: Understanding Risk and Resilience (London: Routledge, 2014)

  • 9

    Pierre Bourdieu, Outline of a Theory of Practice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977); Emanuel Adler and Vincent Pouliot, ‘International practices: introduction and framework,’ in Emanuel Adler and Vincent Pouliot (eds.) International Practices (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011); Didier Bigo, ‘Security’ in Rebecca Adler-Nissen (ed.), Bourdieu in International Relations: Rethinking key concepts in ir (London and New York: Routledge, 2013), pp. 114–130.

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  • 10

    Ward Berenschot, Riot Politics: Hindu-Muslim Violence and the Indian State (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011); Paul Brass, The Production of Hindu-Muslim Violence in Contemporary India, (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2003); Steven I. Wilkinson, Votes and Violence: Electoral Competition and Ethnic Riots in India (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004).

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  • 11

    Paul Brass, Forms of Collective Violence: Riots, Pogroms, and Genocide in Modern India, (New Delhi: Three Essays Collective, 2006); Martha Nussbaum, The Clash Within: Democracy, Religious Violence and India's Future (Cambridge, Massachusetts and London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007); Martha Nussbaum ‘Rape and Murder in Gujarat’ in Amrita Basu and Srirupa Roy (eds.), Violence and Democracy in India (Calcutta: Seagull Books, 2007): 101–122.

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  • 12

    A/67/929-S/2013/399, 9 July 2013, paragraph 19.

  • 14

    Bellamy, ‘Mass Atrocities and Armed Conflicts’, p.2.

  • 17

    Sharma and Welsh, ‘Operationalizing the Responsibility to Prevent’, pp. 4–5.

  • 23

    Stephanie Fishel, ‘Theorizing violence in the Responsibility to Protect’, Critical Studies on Security, 1/2: 204–218 (2013), p. 210.

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  • 26

    Fishel, ‘Theorizing violence in the Responsibility to Protect,’ p. 205.

  • 28

    Ibid., p. 135.

  • 29

    Ibid., p. 147.

  • 31

    A/64/864, 14 July 2010.

  • 32

    A/65/877-S/2011/393, 27 June 2011.

  • 33

    A/67/929-S/2013/399, July 2013.

  • 34

    A/68/947-S/2014/449, July 2014.

  • 35

    A/66/874-S/2012/578, 25 July 2012, p. 3, paragraph. 8.

  • 36

    Bellamy, ‘Conflict Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect’, p. 137.

  • 43

    Ibid.; Kadira Pethiyagoda, ‘India’s Approach to Humanitarian Intervention and the Responsibility to Protect’, Working Paper, Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict Unit, Oxford University, 2013; Kudrat Virk, ‘India and the Responsibility to Protect: A Tale of Ambiguity’, Global Responsibility to Protect, 5:56–83 (2013).

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  • 44

    A/67/929-S/2013/399, 9 July 2013, paragraphs 12–14

  • 47

    A/67/929-S/2013/399, 9 July 2013, paragraph 19.

  • 48

    Virk, ‘India and the Responsibility to Protect’, pp. 60–62.

  • 49

    A/67/929-S/2013/399, 9 July 2013, paragraph 17.

  • 51

    Jacob Mundy, ‘Deconstructing Civil Wars: Beyond the new wars debate’, Security Dialogue 42/3: 279–295 (2011).

  • 59

    A/67/929-S/2013/399, 9 July 2013, paragraph 17.

  • 62

    Paul Brass, The Production of Hindu-Muslim Violence in Contemporary India (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2003).

  • 67

    Ornit Shani, Communalism, Caste and Hindu Nationalism: The Violence in Gujarat (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007); also Wilkinson, Votes and Violence.

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  • 68

    Gayendra Pandey, The Construction of Communalism in Colonial North India (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1992).

  • 69

    Ritu Menon and Kamla Bhasin, Borders and Boundaries: Women in India’s Partition (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1998), pp.67–129; Gayendra Pandey, Remembering Partition: Violence, Nationalism, and History in India (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2001), pp. 21–44.

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  • 71

    Brass, Forms of Collective Violence, pp.179–180.

  • 75

    Basu and Roy, ‘Beyond Exceptionalism,’ p.5; Brass, Forms of Collective Violence; Nussbaum, The Clash Within, pp.44–51.

  • 76

    Mohammad Ali, ‘Gang-rape stokes tensions in Muzzafarnargar’, The Hindu, 5 November 2013; Nussbaum, The Clash Within; Nussbaum, ‘Rape and Murder in Gujarat’; Raj K. Raj, ‘up riots: rape victims tell their tales’, Hindustan Times, 5 January 2014; personal interview with human rights activist seeking justice for victims of the 2008 Kandhamal violence in Orissa, India 2012.

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  • 77

    Brass, Forms of Collective Violence, pp. 12–56.

  • 78

    Basu and Roy, ‘Beyond Exceptionalism’, p. 4.

  • 80

    Javed Anand, ‘Targeting the Lawbreakers’, Economic and Political Weekly, 66/34: 19–21 (2011).

  • 81

    Sandeep Joshi and Gargi Parsai, ‘Government forced to defer Communal Violence Bill,’ The Hindu, 6 February 2014.

  • 83

    Nussbaum, The Clash Within, pp. 26–29.

  • 84

    Brass, Forms of Collective Violence, pp. xv–xvi.

  • 85

    Ibid., p.69.

  • 88

    Berenschot, Riot Politics, p.10.

  • 90

    Angana P Chatterji, ‘The Biopolitics of Hindu Nationalism: Mournings’, Cultural Dynamics: Theory Cross-Cultures, 16 (2/3): 319–372 (2004), p. 320.

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