The Responsibility to Protect

In 2001, the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) published a report (PDF, 3.76MB) detailing their research into the problem of humanitarian intervention. Since the end of the Cold War, the right to intervene and the challenge it posed to state sovereignty became a challenging issue for policy makers to grapple with, especially when that intervention involved military action. The ICISS came to the conclusion that to avoid atrocity crimes being committed against populations, a 'responsibility to protect' such populations lay first and foremost with the state in which that population resided. Yet it also fell to the wider international community to bear that responsibility if a state was unwilling or unable to do so itself. This initial report would then be built upon until it developed into an international norm and was subsequently adopted at the World Summit in 2005. 

2005 World Summit Outcome

In 2005 at the UN headquarters in New York City, heads of state and government affirmed their commitment to the R2P principle. In the Outcome document (PDF, 216KB), state parties also recognised the need for the General Assembly to continue considering the implications of R2P and reaffirmed support for the mission of the Special Advisor of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide.

Implementing the Responsibility to Protect

In 2009, following the 2005 World Summit Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary-General at the time, released a report entitled 'Implementing the responsibility to protect' (PDF, 148KB) to advance the agenda put forward at the Summit. The R2P principle was separated into three 'pillars' and further ideas were given for policy makers to operationalise it further in the future. 

Study Group of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific

In 2011, this group published their Final Report (PDF, 398KB) detailing how the R2P principle affects actors and institutions within the Asia Pacific and gave recommendations on how the principle could be more widely adopted in the region.

Framework of Analysis for Atrocity Crimes: A Tool for Prevention

The Framework of Analysis for Atrocity Crimes (PDF, 4.22MB) was developed in 2014 by the UN Special Advisors on the Prevention of Genocide and on the Responsibility to Protect to be used as a guide in assessing the risks of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity occurring. The Centre has used this guide in developing its Baseline Assessments and Risk Assessments for countries within the Asia Pacific region. It has also begun informal translations of it into languages within the region to better facilitate policy formulation.

The Oxford Handbook of the Responsibility to Protect

The R2P concept accords to sovereign states and international institutions a responsibility to assist peoples who are at risk - or experiencing - the worst atrocities. R2P maintains that collective action should be taken by members of the United Nations to prevent or halt such gross violations of basic human rights.

The Oxford Handbook of the Responsibility to Protect, edited by Alex Bellamy and Tim Dunne, features contributions from leading figures in the field and essays examining the progress that has been made in the last 10 years in the adoption and implementation of the principle. It also provides analysis on likely developments within the next decade.

More information about the Handbook can be found here

The Kigali Principles on the Protection of Civilians

Related to the practical implementation of R2P policies, the Kigali Principles on the Protection of Civilians (PDF, 101KB) are a non-binding set of eighteen pledges for implementing effective protection of civilians in UN peacekeeping missions. These Principles arose out of the High-Level International Conference on the Protection of Civilians in Rwanda in 2015.

The first nine signatories of the Principles were Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Italy, The Netherlands, Rwanda, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Uganda and Uruguay. As of mid-2018, the list of signatories stood at 47.

The most relevant aspects of peacekeeping are addressed by the Kigali Principles, including assessment and planning, force generation, training and equipping personnel, performance and accountability. While the Principles focus on civilian protection, through implementation they also help to address peacekeeper abuse and broader deficiencies in peacekeeping practices.