Definition

Responsibility to protect (R2P) (in international humanitarian law) (Fr.: Responsabilité de protéger, Gr.: Ευθύνη Προστασίας) (See also: use of force, humanitarian intervention, state sovereignty, non-intervention, early warning, genocide, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, war crimes) = an international principle according to which each sovereign state has a primary responsibility to protect its population from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity (1st pillar) with the assistance of the international community (2nd pillar). Should, however, a state fail to exercise that responsibility, the international community may intervene, in accordance with Chapters VI and VIII of the UN Charter (3rd pillar). 

The UN Security Council is the only body allowed to authorise such intervention, and only for the prevention of the aforementioned four types of mass atrocities. The international community must first and foremost use diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means, while military intervention must be carried out as a last resort, should these means be proven inadequate. 

R2P was first mentioned during the 2001 International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty Report which argued that the concept of sovereignty did not only protect States from foreign interference, but also entailed their responsibility to protect their people from major human rights abuses. At the United Nations World Summit in 2005, global political leaders endorsed the new doctrine and affirmed the international community's responsibility to take collective action, in a timely and decisive manner, to protect the populations at risk.

 

Useful resources

Legislation

Treaties

http://www.au.int/en/sites/default/files/ConstitutiveAct_EN.pdf - Constitutive Act of the African Union, Art. 4(h) [English]

Resolutions

http://www.unrol.org/files/S-Res-1674%20on%20protection%20civilians%20in%20armed%20conflict%20%2828Apr06%29.pdf - United Nations, Security Council resolution 1674, S/RES/1674 (28 April 2006) [English]

http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/63/308 - United Nations, General Assembly resolution 63/308, The responsibility protect, A/RES/63/308 (14 September 2009) [English, French, Russian, Spanish]

http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/RES/1894%282009%29 - United Nations, Security Council resolution 1894, S/RES/1894 (11 November 2009) [English, French, Russian, Spanish]

Other official documents

http://responsibilitytoprotect.org/ICISS%20Report.pdf - International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty Report: The Responsibility to Protect, 2001 [English]

http://www.un.org/en/preventgenocide/adviser/pdf/World%20Summit%20Outcome%20Document.pdf#page=30 - Outcome Document of the 2005 United Nations World Summit, A/RES/60/1, para.138-140 [English] [English, French, Russian, Spanish]

http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/63/677 - United Nations, General Assembly, Implementing the responsibility to protect: report of the Secretary-General, A/63/677 (12 January 2009) [English, French, Russian, Spanish]

http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/64/864 - United Nations, General Assembly, Early warning, assessment and the responsibility to protect: report of the Secretary-General, A/64/864 (14 July 2010) [English, French, Russian, Spanish]

http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/66/874 - United Nations, General Assembly, Security Council, Responsibility to protect: timely and decisive response: report of the Secretary-General, A/66/874-S/2012/578 (25 July 2012) [English, French, Russian, Spanish]

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+MOTION+B7-2012-0191+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN - European Parliament recommendation to the Council on the UN principle of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ (R2P) [EU Languages]

http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/67/929 - United Nations, General Assembly, Security Council, Responsibility to protect: State responsibility and prevention: report of the Secretary-General, A/67/929-S/2013/399 (9 July 2013) [English, French, Russian, Spanish]

http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/68/947&referer=/english/&Lang=E - United Nations, General Assembly, Security Council, Fulfilling our collective responsibility: international assistance and the responsibility to protect: report of the Secretary-General, A/68/947-S/2014/449 (11 January 2014) [English, French, Russian, Spanish]

Organisations and associations

http://www.responsibilitytoprotect.org/ - International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect

http://www.globalr2p.org/ - Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect

http://www.un.org/en/preventgenocide/adviser/responsibility.shtml - Special Advisors on the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect [United Nations]

http://www.una.org.uk/content/r2p-detail - United Nations Association [UK]

http://www.mfa.gr/exoteriki-politiki/pagkosmia-zitimata/responsibility-to-protect.html - Greek Foreign Ministry [Greece]

Online Publications

http://www.globalr2p.org/media/files/libyaandr2poccasionalpaper-1.pdf - Adams, S., 2012, Libya and the Responsibility to Protect, Occasional Paper Series, Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect [English]

http://www.globalr2p.org/publications/360 - Adams, S., 2015, Failure to Protect: Syria and the UN Security Council, Occasional Paper Series, Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect [English]

http://www.redcross.org.au/files/IHL__R2P_responsibility-to-protect.pdf - Australian Red Cross, 2011, International Humanitarian Law and the Responsibility to Protect: a handbook [English]

http://www.e-ir.info/2014/03/13/r2p-and-gender-the-marginalization-of-responsibilities/ - Davies, S. E., 2014, R2P and Gender: The Marginalisation of Responsibilities, E-International Relations [English]

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2002-11-01/responsibility-protect - Evans, G., Sahnoun M., 2002, The Responsibility to Protect, Foreign Affairs [English]

http://www.globalr2p.org/media/files/kenya_occasionalpaper_web.pdf - Halakhe, A. B., 2013, R2P in Practice: Ethnic Violence, Elections and Atrocity Prevention in Kenya, Occasional Paper Series, Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect [English]

http://www.stanleyfoundation.org/publications/pab/luckpab808.pdf - Luck, E. C., 2008, The United Nations and the Responsibility to Protect, Policy Analysis Brief, The Stanley Foundation [English]

http://unu.edu/publications/articles/responsibility-to-protect-and-the-protection-of-civilians.html - Notaras M., Popovski V., 2011, The Responsibility to Protect, Tokyo, United Nations University [English]

http://lawyr.it/index.php/articles/international-focus/397-applicability-of-the-responsibility-to-protect-doctrine-in-syria - Suicescu R., 2014, Applicability of the 'Responsibility to Protect' doctrine in Syria, Lawyr.it [English]

http://www.globalr2p.org/media/files/weiss-current-history.pdf - Weiss, T. G., 2012, On R2P, America Takes the Lead, Current History, Volume: 111, Issue: 748 [English]

https://www.law.unimelb.edu.au/files/dmfile/downloaddad11.pdf - Zifcak, S., 2012, The Responsibility to Protect after Libya and Syria, Melbourne Journal of International Law [English]

Publications

Crawford, J., Pellet, A., Olleson, S., Parlett, K., 2010, The law of international responsibility, New York, Oxford University Press [English]

Shelton, D., 2013, The Oxford handbook of international human rights law, Oxford, United Kingdom ; New York, USA, Oxford University Press [English]

Skouteris, T., Vagias, M., 2014, International organizations and the protection of human rights: Essays in honor of Proffesor Paroula Naskou-Perraki, Athens, Themis [English]

 

 

By Angeliki Tsanta