The Responsibility to Protect at Ten

in Global Responsibility to Protect
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This article introduces the special issue and identifies three key contributions. First, RtoP advocates are right to mark the progress that has been made, but that should not – and generally does not – lead norm diffusers to rest on their laurels or to fall into a complacency that sees moral progress as inevitable. Second, the burden of concrete protection practices – whether they be reflected in contributions to peacekeeping missions or the granting of asylum – is being unfairly distributed across international society. This hierarchy is potentially destabilising and it demands that the great powers – or those laying claim to that identity – recognise their ‘special responsibility to protect’. Third, the great powers do have an important responsibility to reconcile the demands of human protection and international peace and security. It is difficult to reconcile these if we look narrowly at the former in terms of intervention, especially military intervention. Reiterating RtoP to remind states that other prudent options are available – such as receiving refugees – is an important step, especially in the current context.

The Responsibility to Protect at Ten

in Global Responsibility to Protect




Aidan Hehir‘The Responsibility to Protect: "Sound and Fury Signifying Nothing"?’International Relations24/2: 218–239 (2010); Theresa Reinold ‘The Responsibility to Protect-Much ado about Nothing?’ Review of International Studies 32/S1:55–78 (2010) p. 55.


Kenneth J. CampbellGenocide and the Global Village (New York: Palgrave2001) p. 107. It is difficult to judge this claim without knowing the operational parameters that Campbell upheld when assessing what constituted an article on genocide. For example there was a handful of review pieces published as well as a very small number of pieces that engaged with genocide more indirectly. Yet the underlying point remains when one juxtaposes the frequency of genocide within this time period with the lack of ir interest in it this omission is startling.


Edward Luck‘The Responsibility to Protect: Growing Pains or Early Promise?’Ethics & International Affairs24/4:349–65 (2010) p. 349.


BellamyThe Responsibility to Protect: A Defense p. 8.


Aidan Hehir‘The Permanence of Inconsistency: Libya, the Security Council and the Responsibility to Protect’International Security38/1: 137–159 (2013).


 See for instance Jason Ralph‘R2P at 10: Looking beyond military intervention’Opencanada.org21 May 2015


BellamyResponsibility to Protect: A Defense p. 11.


Jason Ralph and Adrian Gallagher‘Legitimacy faultlines in international society. The Responsibility to Protect and Prosecute after Libya’Review of International Studies41: 553–573 (2015); Bellamy The Responsibility to Protect: A Defense p. 203.


Alexander Betts‘Forget the ‘war on smuggling’, we need to be helping refugees in need’The Guardian. Comment is Free26 April 2015 This journal began the discussion in 2010. See special double issue of Global Responsibility to Protect Vol. 2 (1–2); see also Sara Davies and Luke Glanville (eds.) Protecting the displaced: deepening the responsibility to protect (Boston Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 2010).


Alex BellamyResponsibility to Protect. A Defense p. 104.


Brian Barbour and Brian Gorlick‘Embracing the "responsibility to protect": a repertoire of measures including asylum for potential victims’International Journal of Refugee Law20/4:533–566 (2008) p. 533. See also Sara E. Davies and Luke Glanville (eds.) Protecting the Displaced. Deepening the Responsibility to Protect; and Phil Orchard ‘Implementing a Global Internally Displaced Persons Protection Regime’ in Alexander Betts and Phil Orchard (eds.) Implementation and World Politics. How International Norms Change Practice (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2014).

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