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The Responsibility to Protect: From Promise to Practice

Muirhead Tower - Room 417
Thursday 1 November 2018 (15:00-16:30)

Cecilia Davis

The ICCS Seminar Series continues on 1 November with guest speaker Professor Alex Bellamy (University of Queensland).

The international community made a landmark commitment to prevent atrocity crimes by unanimously adopting the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ (R2P) principle. Has this been carried out? Alex Bellamy is visiting from Australia to deliver a talk about this subject.

In 2005, the international community made a landmark commitment to prevent atrocity crimes by unanimously adopting the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ (R2P) principle. As often as not, however, R2P has failed to translate into decisive action. Why does this gap persist between the world’s normative pledges to R2P and its ability to make it a daily lived reality?

This talk examines this fundamental question, calling for a more comprehensive approach to the practice of R2P – one that moves beyond states and the UN to include the full range of actors that play a role in protecting vulnerable populations. Drawing on cases from the Middle East to sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, it examines the forces and conditions that produce atrocity crimes and the challenge of responding to them quickly and effectively. It advocates for both emergency policies to temporarily stop carnage, and for policies leading to sustainable change within societies and governments. Only by introducing these additional elements to the R2P toolkit will the failures associated with humanitarian crises like Syria become a thing of the past.

Alex Bellamy is Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies and Director of the Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect at the University of Queensland, Australia. He is also Non-Resident Senior Adviser at the International Peace Institute, New York, and Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia. He serves as a consultant with the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect. Previously he served as Secretary of the High Level Advisory Panel on the Responsibility to Protect in Southeast Asia.

Listen to the full podcast below:

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