National Human Rights Institutions (nhris) have rapidly proliferated worldwide in the last twenty years. They play an important role in the implementation of international human rights standards at the domestic level. Examples, especially from the African and Asian regions show that the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) relates to the work of nhris. Some institutions were established as one of the outcomes of peace processes in order to advance reconciliation and prevent future abuses. Where nhris already exist, the institutions may promote and protect human rights in each phase of the R2P. This paper discusses what role nhris can take up in assisting governments, the international community, and people before, during and after crisis situations. Through concrete country examples, it also highlights the challenges that the institutions must face, and summarises the limits of their influence.
This article evaluates the effects certain interventions, namely various types of third party peacekeeping missions, have had on the future human rights practices of countries experiencing civil conflict. I argue that peacekeeping with (a) an un mandate or (b) a strong civilian or humanitarian focus are the only types of missions that should cause gains in human rights performance; these missions are aligned with R2P goals. Using a cross-national sample of countries experiencing civil conflict from 1960 to 2013, I find much evidence that R2P-aligned peacekeeping missions can be a positive force for future human rights performance within countries that have experienced civil conflict, even after we account for the factors that led to the mission in the first place. Advocacy efforts in support of R2P must be careful to call for only interventions with un support and/or clear humanitarian objectives.
This paper considers the potential of regional human rights institutions in the global South – including the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and the asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights – to exercise atrocity prevention functions. Specifically, it considers the possibilities and limits of their institutions and activities in contributing to early warning, direct prevention, and ‘root cause’ prevention, finding that much potential exists for the Inter-American and African Commission to make tangible contributions to prevention, broadly conceived, but that there remain important gaps between mandate and actual practices. The asean Commission lags significantly behind the others because of the Southeast Asian grouping’s continued commitment to non-interference. Despite this fact, asean norms and institutions are ever-evolving – even if slowly – and so opportunities may arise for the creation of prevention-relevant mandates and mechanisms that mirror those already embedded in the Inter-American and African systems.
Bethel Uzoma Ihugba and Ikenna Stanley Onyesi
The paper examines the implication of International Intellectual Property (ip) laws and agreements on the sustainable development of Least Developed Countries (ldcs) and Developed Countries (dcs) and suggests approaches for improving the development and wellbeing of people in the developing world through national ip laws. The paper argues that generally international ip agreements may appear biased against developing countries and most dcs are reluctant to challenge the status quo and/or use the flexibilities of the international ip agreement to promote the wellbeing of their citizens. However, the article finds that ldcs and dcs could change this trend through the creative use of national ip laws and international agreements to promote the sustainable development of ldcs and dcs. The major instrument suggested for this shift in approach is the establishment of national ip administration institutions and the positive use of compulsory licences.
Jawoon Kim and Alan Bloomfield
In 2014 a unhrc report found North Korea was practicing mass atrocities, contravening the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) norm, and it called for sanctions and referral of the matter to the International Criminal Court. This paper assesses the report’s impact upon ‘the matter of human rights in North Korea’ and upon the R2P norm itself. We find that when a relatively ‘demanding’ standard is applied, whereby R2P is judged to be effective only if it affects the actual human rights situation, the report has had little impact. But judging impact according to a more ‘forgiving’ standard suggests the report has substantially affected international debates about human rights in North Korea. We also argue that the report affected the R2P norm itself: specifically, Pillars i and ii are now considered relevant in cases of ‘chronic’ abuse, although strong opposition to the position that Pillar iii measures are also relevant remains strong.
This paper argues that the influence of R2P can be seen in many subtle, yet significant, ways throughout the Arms Trade Treaty, from the language used to the obligations imposed on States Parties. The Arms Trade Treaty indicates that R2P is influencing decision making and contributing to the protection of populations from atrocity crimes by obliging States Parties to explicitly consider the consequences of their arms transfers. In addition, the Arms Trade Treaty has increased our understanding of R2P by confirming that R2P involves a range of measures and includes restraint by States in refusing to transfer arms in situations where atrocity crimes are being committed, which may temper concerns about R2P being rebranded as assistance.
This contribution uses the analytical lens of ‘reluctance’ to assess some of the broader implications of the arguments made by Hardeep Singh Puri in Perilous Interventions. Based on a conceptualization of reluctance that entails the two constitutive dimensions of ‘hesitation’ and ‘recalcitrance’, the article finds that India was only moderately reluctant when it came to unscr 1973, but grew increasingly reluctant vis-à-vis r2p after military operations in Libya. Puri’s book reveals how India’s growing reluctance on r2p was shaped by the perception that the West was driven by an appetite for interventionism and regime change. These insights are helpful to make sense of the broader phenomenon of India’s and other rising powers’ reluctant approach to world politics. Reluctance can result from efforts to deal with either competing expectations articulated by different actors, or with competing norms (e.g., protection of civilians and sovereignty; status recognition as a responsible country and autonomy).
This article reflects on Hardeep Singh Puri’s approach towards the responsibility to protect (r2p) in Perilous Interventions, and, in so doing, also on the approaches generally taken in the Indian debate on the subject. It looks, in particular, at issues that both tend not to consider, limiting their contribution to the discourse on r2p. In this regard, the book is characteristic of critical Indian assessments of r2p, which have a narrow focus on the norm’s interventionist pillar and a further tendency to view it through a West/non-West, interest-based lens. This, in turn, contributes to an internal discourse that pivots on selected, individual cases of intervention – as does the book – while precluding a richer and conceptual engagement with the norm. The book is also preoccupied with the negative consequences of military intervention and the lessons of failure, so much so that it misses an opportunity to consider more fully how the use of force for human-rights protection might be made less perilous or less necessary.