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The People vs. The State

Reflections on UN Authority, US Power and the Responsibility to Protect

image of The People vs. The State
Responsibility to Protect (R2P) aims to convert international conscience into timely and decisive collective action to rescue vulnerable communities. The choice is not whether international interventions will take place but where, when, how and under whose authority. Given the nature and victims of modern armed conflict, protection of civilians and populations at risk of mass atrocities is a core United Nations imperative. But while the UN has international authority, it lacks military power. Although its military might well have unmatched global reach, the United States acting unilaterally lacks international authority. This publication argues that progress towards good international society requires that force be harnessed to authority as the R2P moves from a universally validated principle to a routinely actionable norm.

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The responsibility to protect revisited

The landmark report on The Responsibility to Protect was published with exceptionally bad timing in December 2001. Yet the concept has proven remarkably resilient and gained rapid traction in international policy as well as in the humanitarian and scholarly communities, culminating in the adoption of the new norm by world leaders meeting at the United Nations in the autumn of 2005.

English

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