Publishing Institution:

The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect

The Responsibility to Protect - known as R2P - refers to the obligation of states toward their populations and toward all populations at risk of genocide and other large-scale atrocities. This new international norm stipulates that: The primary responsibility to protect populations from mass atrocities lies with the state itself. When a state proves either unable or unwilling to protect peoples, that responsibility shifts to the international community. This obligation must be exercised preventively; states can not delay action until mass crimes have already occurred. The tools of action include diplomatic, legal, and other peaceful measures; coercive measures such as sanctions; and, as a last resort, military force. These principles originated in a 2001 report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty and were endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document paragraphs 138 and 139. The UN Secretary General released a report in January 2009 Implementing the Responsibility to Protect. In a July 2009 General Assembly Debate, UN Member States overwhelmingly reaffirmed the 2005 Commitment and passed a consensus resolution taking note of the Secretary-General's report. Read more about the historic debate here.
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