Responsibility to protect: translating ideas into capacity by Douglas Wilson

Nicolas Rost/UNHCR

Nicolas Rost/UNHCR

In 2005, the World Summit endorsed the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) principle, which reconceives of state sovereignty as the responsibility to protect citizens from human rights atrocities, and most controversially, endorses international intervention as a last resort if states fail or refuse to comply with that responsibility.

However, implementation is proving more problematic, with sceptics in the developing world viewing R2P as an inadvertent incitement to armed uprising at best, or a “Trojan Horse” of Western imperialism at worst. Moreover, there is widespread feeling that some countries are resiling from previous commitments made in this regard.

On 9-10 March 2009, the Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior (FRIDE) and Intermón Oxfam, with the cooperation of the Canadian and British Embassies in Spain, brought together a number of experts to discuss R2P and its implementation, what can be done to facilitate that process, what obstacles it faces, and what R2P’s prospects are as an international norm of the future.

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