Defined: Responsibility to Protect
While not directly connected to the International Criminal Court and its due process, the term “Responsibility to Protect” is directly connected to everything we have discussed here in ‘Defined:’ to date.
This term is an official UN initiative created to bring swift action in response to mass atrocity crimes. It not only encompasses the use of military action, but also is the driving force behind NGOs and activist groups worldwide.
The concept of “Responsibility to Protect” is the glue that binds activists together. It is the idea that we are all responsible for one another and all responsible for the successful preservation of human rights. When one person’s rights are violated and no one responds, we have all failed in our mission as human beings.
The official UN initiative was enacted in 2005 in the wake of the Rwandan genocide. At its heart are three main tenants:
1. A state has a responsibility to protect its population from mass atrocities.
2. The international community has a responsibility to assist the state if it is unable to protect its population on its own.
3. If the state fails to protect its citizens from mass atrocities and peaceful measures have failed, the international community has the responsibility to intervene through coercive measures such as economic sanctions. Military intervention is considered the last resort.
Has the world done its duty in protecting those in need? We know End Impunity readers do what they can – yet End Impunity would not exist if this concept were consistently enforced. How do you feel the international community needs to step up and help where it has fallen short?