Norms of Protection

Responsibility to Protect, Protection of Civilians and their Interaction

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A series of humanitarian tragedies in the 1990s (Somalia, Rwanda, Srebrenica, Kosovo) demonstrated the failure of the international community to protect civilians in the context of complex emergencies. These brought to life two norms of protection – Responsibility to Protect (R2P) and Protection of Civilians (POC) – both deeply rooted in the empathy that human beings have for the suffering of innocent people. Both norms raise concerns of misinterpretation and misuse. They are developing – sometimes in parallel, sometimes diverging and sometimes converging – with varying degrees of institutionalization and acceptance. This book engages in a profound comparative analysis of the norms and aims to serve policy-makers at various levels; practitioners with protective roles; academics and researchers; civil society and R2P and POC advocates.



The responsibility to protect and the international refugee regime

A series of humanitarian tragedies in the 1990s (Somalia, Rwanda, Srebrenica, Kosovo and East Timor) highlighted the failure of the international community to prevent mass atrocities. Since that time “a newly energized international conscience” (Thakur, 2009) has seen the international community’s response to mass atrocities undergo a significant rethink. Arguably the most important development has been the conceptualization and promotion of the responsibility to protect (R2P) principle. The R2P principle, as endorsed by states, recognizes that states acting individually, and collectively through the United Nations, have a responsibility to protect persons within their jurisdiction from mass atrocities.


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