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The Syrian civil war stands as the most serious failure of the responsibility to prevent since the adoption of R2P in 2005. As the war has continued, there have been atrocities and abuse committed against vulnerable populations on a widespread and systematic scale. This article focuses on the atrocity prevention efforts undertaken in the first phase of the crisis from March 2011 to August 2012. It shows that while there were multiple tools utilized by a range of local, regional, and international actors, none of them had a lasting impact on the commission of atrocity crimes in Syria. This failure is due to five principal reasons. First, engagement to prevent atrocities came too late. Second, domestic and regional conditions were not conducive to prevention. Third, there was little reason for the warring parties to compromise. Fourth, there was a disconnect between what Western states wanted to achieve in Syria and what they were prepared to do about it. And fifth, the UN’s envoys had limited options for engagement.

In: Journal of International Peacekeeping
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This article reflects upon the UN General Assembly’s 2012 informal interactive dialogue on the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP), which was on the theme of ‘timely and decisive response’. It shows that although Member States recognize that ‘timely and decisive’ responses to genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity could sometimes prove controversial, none disputed the occasional necessity of robust enforcement measures when properly authorized by the Security Council and used as a last resort. Against this backdrop, the paper identifies and engages with three of the key challenges that emerged in the dialogue: the relationship between the the three pillars of RtoP, the problem of consistency in the application of the principle, and the challenge of making prevention a ‘living reality’. The paper identifies ways of navigating these challenges and proposes a pathway for the further consolidation of RtoP in international practice.

In: Global Responsibility to Protect
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This article examines the challenges and opportunities for mainstreaming RtoP within the UN system and proposes a way forward. First, it examines what is meant by ‘mainstreaming’ in the UN context and progress made thus far. Second, it reviews some of the principal dilemmas that have arisen in different parts of the UN system, notably in relation to the system’s political work, humanitarian activities, peacekeeping operations, human rights promotion and protection, and capacity-building. Third, it considers the extent to which the Secretary-General’s vision accommodates these concerns. Finding that, to a great extent, it does, the final section offers some recommendations for moving forward which harnesses the basic principles for mainstreaming outlined by the Secretary-General and develops into four areas: incorporating an ‘atrocity prevention lens’, information sharing, capacity building and lessons learning.

In: Global Responsibility to Protect
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Abstract

This piece examines the place of the use of force in R2P. It shows that a sceptical view about the use of force to protect populations, a view guided by the seemingly ‘endless wars’ of the global ‘war on terror’ and the troubled legacy of intervention in Libya, has become predominant. The principle’s earliest advocates went to considerable lengths to distinguish it from the bad old days of ‘humanitarian intervention’ in part to assuage fears and in part to burnish R2P’s apparent novelty. However, experience shows that in the face of determined perpetrators force, with all the problems that entails, sometimes is necessary to protect from populations. This piece suggests the need to bring the use of force back in to debates about implementing R2P

Open Access
In: Global Responsibility to Protect
In: Die Schutzverantwortung (R2P)
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This article examines the role that groups played in the rise of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) within the United Nations (un) system. It focuses in particular on the role of informal groups of states in advancing a consensus on R2P, contrasting their role with that of formal regional and political groups, which — with the exception of the African Group — played a more marginal role. R2P has given rise to a multiplicity of informal groups of states. These informal groups operate alongside the formal regional and political groups and, with one or two exceptions, have tended to be significantly more influential, the main reason being the principle’s genesis. Arising out of fractious debates in the late 1990s about intervention and the relationship between sovereignty and fundamental human rights, R2P was from the outset a conscious attempt to bridge political divides between states in the un — especially the ‘North–South’ theatre.

In: The Hague Journal of Diplomacy
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Drawing upon talks delivered at the Second Global Action Against Mass Atrocity Crimes conference, held in Manila 2016, this paper examines the extent to which the Asia Pacific region has begun to translate its commitment to the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) into practice. It finds that the so-called “East Asian Peace” has transformed the region from one of the world’s deadliest to one of the world’s most peaceful. But many key challenges remain and there is much to be done to make R2P and atrocity prevention a daily lived reality. This article proceeds in three parts. The first briefly describes the dramatic decline of atrocity crimes in East Asia. The second points to some key challenges on the ideational and institutional fronts. The third section turns specifically to the need to develop national architectures for atrocity prevention.

In: Global Responsibility to Protect
In: Global Responsibility to Protect
Author:

Abstract

Drawing upon talks delivered at the Second Global Action Against Mass Atrocity Crimes conference, held in Manila 2016, this paper examines the extent to which the Asia Pacific region has begun to translate its commitment to the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) into practice. It finds that the so-called “East Asian Peace” has transformed the region from one of the world’s deadliest to one of the world’s most peaceful. But many key challenges remain and there is much to be done to make R2P and atrocity prevention a daily lived reality. This chapter proceeds in three parts. The first briefly describes the dramatic decline of atrocity crimes in East Asia. The second points to some key challenges on the ideational and institutional fronts. The third section turns specifically to the need to develop national architectures for atrocity prevention.

In: Regionalism and Human Protection