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IN WHOSE NAME ?
A Critical View on the Responsibility to Protect
Lou Pingeot and Wolfgang Obenland - May 2014

Photo Credit: Metziker, Flickr

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EXTRACTIVISM AND WOMEN’S RIGHTS
Karolin Seitz
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BEYOND NAFTA 2.0
Ethan Earle, Manuel Pérez-Rocha, and Scott Sinclair, eds.
July 2019

NUCLEAR POWER AND CLIMATE ACTION
Tim Judson
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Lou Pingeot and Wolfgang Obenland on R2P. A “peace dividend” was the big hope of many observers of international politics after the end of the Cold War. Envisioning a new era of human rights cooperation no longer divided between East and West, the international community could now come together to prevent large-scale human rights abuses. The reality wasn’t so neat, and the crises of the 1990s—Rwanda, Somalia, and Bosnia among others—demonstrated a startling lack of consensus over appropriate conditions for international conflict resolution.

The subsequent failure to prevent or respond to humanitarian disasters prompted several governments—Canada’s foremost among them—and allied NGOs to propose a new doctrine: “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P). This doctrine, which quickly gained traction among key international actors, seeks to lay out criteria for when states may coercively intervene in another state in order to protect its people.

In this report, Lou Pingeot and Wolfgang Obenland offer a critical introduction to the R2P doctrine, exploring its origins and proponents. Covering a wide array of cases – from Rwanda to Libya – they lay out the case both for and against its adoption.

R2P seems to have much to recommend it: the doctrine demands that states live up to their obligations to their citizens; it insists on the responsibilities of the international community to support states in meeting these obligations; and it attempts to establish the basis for a more consistent international response to crises.

Ultimately, however, R2P is a critically flawed doctrine, rooted in a limited understanding of conflict, that risks justifying the use of force by great powers without providing clarity as to when such force is justified. Despite insisting on the importance of prevention and recovery, it has from its inception been first and foremost a doctrine used to legitimize military intervention.

Pingeot and Obenland conclude by laying out a variety of ways in which the international community can seek to prevent human rights abuses and to help local populations recover after a crisis.

DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT  (English)
DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT  (German)


Other publications in "Global Power and Resistance"

EXTRACTIVISM AND WOMEN’S RIGHTS
Karolin Seitz
October 2019

BEYOND NAFTA 2.0
Ethan Earle, Manuel Pérez-Rocha, and Scott Sinclair, eds.
July 2019

NUCLEAR POWER AND CLIMATE ACTION
Tim Judson
December 2018

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Talking About Democratic Socialism 30 Years After the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Fall 1989 was a moment of radical transformation for the former German Democratic Republic (GDR). Already many GDR citizens had migrated to West Germany to escape state repression. On November 4, almost half a million other GDR citizens gathered at Alexanderplatz in Berlin for a peaceful protest, calling for the democratization of the socialistic state. Organized by......
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