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The main principle that guided me in my work on the mandate has been to balance between allaying the fears of Governments about national sovereignty while impressing upon them the compelling humanitarian and human rights concerns of the international community with the plight of the internally displaced Deng, , p.

Indeed, outside intervention is more likely to happen when security challenges such as risks of large-scale refugee flows appear, since there is a potential that these movements spread over borders Weiner, The same dynamics drove the interventions in Iraq and in Somalia in which the main goals of the states supporting a breach in the sovereignty of the considered states was to limit refugee flows and regional spillovers Barutciski It remains unlikely therefore that the UN Security Council or governments consider population displacements which do not have transboundary effects as representing an international security threat and therefore apply their responsibility to protect.

Regarding the situation in Burma for instance, in the international community reported to the Security Council the widespread attacks by the military on ethnic minorities, with abuse of prisoners, rape and forced displacement occurring; and yet, two of the P5 members — China and Russia — objected to any application of R2P because the situation did not represent a threat to peace and security Haacke, , p. Concerns that are not directly connected with national security issues are unlikely to receive the necessary operational, financial and institutional resources that IDPs so vitally need.

Among the principal reasons explaining this trend are that western governments are less inclined to deploy their forces to places where their strategic interests are not at stake; they are more involved in non-UN-missions in Afghanistan and Iraq and they are generally unwilling to let their troops be commended by non-Westerners Bellamy and Williams, In concrete terms, this means that there is crucial lack of manpower and equipment necessary to meet the calls to save IDPs. This also suggests that there is a gap between Western states that authorize and support peacekeeping missions to protect civilians and invoke R2P and those that in actual fact, participate to UN missions Bellamy and Williams As Weiss argues, this situation is likely to remain if the European Union EU does not decide to increase its military and defence budget Weiss, , p.

This problem was particularly visible in Darfur where the EU condemned the actions of the Sudanese government and threatened sanctions but did not send its own troops Bellamy and Williams, , p. The decision not to intervene was due to the military overstretch of the European armed forces after their deployment in the DRC, Macedonia, Afghanistan, Bosnia and elsewhere. European leaders therefore were not able to mobilize sufficient resources to intervene in Darfur Bellamy and Williams, , p.

On the normative side, it cannot be denied that the R2P has reached a certain level of recognition. Given that the Security Council, the General Assembly and a number of states increasingly believe that sovereignty depends on the adherence to human rights Newman, , p. Moreover, the situation in Darfur and Kenya has also shown that non-intervention and the principle of sovereignty are still quite alive among UN membership.

The non-application of R2P without the consent of the state has remained the trend so far Orchard, This is highly problematic since in situations of regime-inducement it is the state itself that is directly responsible for generating internal displacement. All of this means that internally displaced people, at this point in time, cannot expect to see their situation improved by this new concept. Finally, not only are the prospects of seeing R2P applied to IDPs extremely low, but one should also ask if associating R2P with them is always desirable.

There is a need then, to be extremely careful when applying the concept. Aware of those limits, the last chapter will seek to develop strategies that accommodate the reality of power politics with IDPs challenges. The previous chapter concluded on a pessimistic note about the prospects of the R2P concept and its application on internally displaced persons. This is not to say that IDPs have reached a deadlock however. Indeed, it is important to be clear about the present limits of R2P so that accurate analysis can be performed on how the concept needs to evolve in order to serve the needs of IDPs.

The conclusions drawn earlier suggest that the ICISS report does not provide a correct understanding of empirical reality. Thus, according to the dissertation, R2P needs to be developed in ways that recognize the reality of power politics, the force of national interest and sovereignty as well as allay fears about military intervention.

Two types of strategies, both realistic and achievable, should be developed. The first and more practicable one would be to focus on the prevention pillar in order to reach a level of consensus on R2P. Second, strategies connecting national interests and humanitarian concerns over IDPs should be explored. The last section of the chapter will adopt a more theoretical perspective , examining the broader question of why certain norms are more successful internationally than others. This will give an indication about the path R2P should follow for the concept to gain more normative weight.

The reorientation of the Responsibility to Protect away from the controversial use of force without the consent of the state toward an emphasis on prevention should be made the first priority for any strategy aiming at assisting IDPs. The ICISS report points to a range of measures including diplomacy, economic and judicial measures, and peace operations deployed with the consent of the state as well as assistance from the international community to support the development of responsible states fulfilling their duties toward their citizens Bellamy, If more resources would be dedicated to develop the political and institutional capacities which are indispensable to increase the success of such measures, many of the flaws and controversies of R2P would be reduced.

First, and foremost, by focusing on identifying early signs of conflict, the prevention pillar would address the root causes of tensions before they turn into conflict and generate R2P crimes whose mass displacement is the consequence. By tackling the problem at its source, the Responsibility to Prevent would avoid political divisions and paralysis in the Security Council about the nonconsensual use of force, fears of neo-imperialism and the absence of strategic concerns, as occurred in Darfur. Finally, choosing to focus on the responsibility to prevent is a realistic and practical recognition of the operational and financial limitations of the international community: allocating sufficient resources to conflict prevention remains less costly, both in terms of financial and human costs, than deploying troops and military equipment for an indeterminate period of time Bellamy, So how would focusing on the prevention pillar materialize for IDPs?

Localizing early patterns of internal displacement would be considerably helpful in detecting intra-state tensions which are on the verge of exploding and turn into the four R2P crimes that the World Summit identified. The first key step would be to strengthen the early warning system- the first part of prevention Bellamy, As analysed in chapter 3, in Kenya before the crisis, warning of violence had already been reported but they were ignored by the international community. One way to do this would be to strengthen the ability of the United Nations to deploy experienced officials who could initiate diplomatic negotiations at short notice.

Although still modest, such initiatives should be encouraged. A crucial improvement would be for the Division to dedicate an important part of its mandate to the development of preventive measures ranging from overseeing coming elections in states where civil tensions are fomenting such as in Kenya. The Division should also reinforce the ability of the state to tackle civil crises and internal displacement.

An essential preventive step should also be to promote national solidarity in order to neutralize the negative racial, ethnic and ideological stereotypes to which internally displaced persons suffer from. To counteract those negative stigmas, the role of civil society — and more particularly community-based and faith-based organizations, women, mass media and the education sector — should be strengthened so as to encourage tolerance, understanding and promote a positive perception of IDPs among the population.

The Convention places an emphasis on the importance of community leaders and civil society organizations in preventing internal displacement due to their capacity to interact with insurgent groups. The dissertation wants to make clear that by insisting on developing the prevention pillar it does not mean that in emergency situations such as genocide, collective action should not be taken. Focusing on prevention constitutes a realistic assessment that R2P will only rarely be applied given the current global context. However, it strongly agrees that in certain situations it remains vital that the international community develop the political will and the means to deploy their armed forces overseas to protect IDPs.

To help achieve this goal, the dissertation develops in the following section two strategies that could persuade states to meet their responsibility to protect IDPs. As expressed previously, ultimately, the decision of states to apply their responsibility to protect will depend on a series of political, strategic, and practical considerations.

To convince western states to take on their R2P, it is necessary to develop strategies that would make national interests connect with humanitarian concerns. The following measures point to ways which could help balance the issue of national self-interest with R2P.

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The first strategy would be to build awareness campaigns among the western public about the crisis of internal displacement and how assisting them would be positive. Policy makers tend to be risk averse, essentially concerned with their political survival Sathasivam, As a result, they are more likely to choose an alternative that generates the lowest political costs.

Another way to persuade western states to adopt R2P would be to offer them alternative strategies, such as encouraging them to pressure and sanction governments in which R2P crimes and displacement occur. States that have aggressive and violent tendencies toward their citizens should be the subject of diplomatic and economic sanctions as well as media pressure — although the negative repercussions of economic sanctions on the local population should be particularly taken into consideration Weiss, Lopez, Minear From a theoretical perspective, the impossibility to develop a R2P norm in the current global context invites one to think more broadly about why some norms spread internationally and generate political will while some do not.

Finding elements of a response to such a question could give an indication about how R2P needs to evolve in the normative arena in order to reach universal acceptance. They argue that a norm will be influential in global politics depending on three conditions: its legitimation, its prominence and quality, and its intrinsic characteristics Finnemore and Sikkink, p. First, states will tend to adopt new norms when they feel their legitimacy is at stake.

According to Finnemore and Sikkink , states are deeply concerned with being recognized as full members of the international community. Furthermore, the more states endorse norms, the more peer pressure to be part of the international society will increase, forcing states to adjust their behavior in a way that conforms to international standards Sikkink and Risse For instance, a humanitarian right norm will be more likely to be adopted if enough peer pressure — both internally and externally — is put on a state to adopt the norm Sikkink and Risse, , p.

They will do so by signing international human right conventions to regain external assistance or to avoid diplomatic and economic sanctions, or by accepting to initiate diplomatic negotiations Sikkink and Risse, , p. In this way, if enough pressure is being put on them, they will be more likely to adopt the norm Rise, Ropp and Sikkin Secondly, norms supported by prominent states or being of a high quality tend to be more influential than others. Finnemore and Sikkink, According to Ann Florini, prominence is a key attribute of norms that guarantees that they will spread and become institutionalized Florini, Finally, norms which possess intrinsic qualities are also more likely to internationalize Finnemore and Sikkink Indeed, norms whose content is clear and specific, and that are enduring have a likeliness to be more effective Legro , Franck Moreover, norms which aim to be universal will spread more easily Geertz Finally, a norm will also be more likely to internationalization if it is morally progressive Crawford, Norms regarding the protection of vulnerable groups for instance, although they are interpreted differently across cultures, will still have more influence than other norms.

In this context, the question of the transnational spreading of norms in non-western contexts deserves special attention. Studying norm diffusion in Southeast Asia, Acharya, finds that strategies that take socio-cultural factors into account, such as belief systems, will be more likely to succeed and be implemented locally than those trying to suppress local characteristics Acharya, Acharya argues that a global norm will be accepted through its transformation and adjustment to the local context that will fit local identities.

Moreover, in his thinking, norm localization is likely to persist over time since it is a voluntary process Acharya, , p. In light of this, several improvements should be made in order to make the R2P concept gain normative weight. First of all, the R2P scope needs to be made clearer and more specific.

Currently, the Security Council has not yet reached a consensus about what norms should prevail -the question of whether host state consent should be a condition for the deployment of armed forces remains unanswered — and what exact actions should be taken Bellamy, p. On this latter point , R2P gives the international community a great liberty to decide what sort of actions the international community can take. This must be done by carefully controlling when the R2P language should or not be employed in order to establish a clear separation between the concept of responsibility to protect and coercive action.

In this view, the growing acceptance of R2P by Southeast Asian governments is a positive development Bellamy and Drummond, The concept has been modified in a way that limits its power to authorize intervention, while at the same time the principle of non-intervention is being reshaped to allow criticism, provide regional aid and the use of diplomatic pressure to address situations of humanitarian emergencies Bellamy and Drummond, Unfortunately, the crisis in Darfur since , the forced displacement of civilians in Burma in and the bombarding of Tamil IDPs in Burma in sadly demonstrates that so far, this test has failed.

This dissertation has sought to show that the so called evolving normative context in which R2P has been developed clearly overlooks the predominance of power politics, geostrategic interests and the enduring prevalence of sovereignty. It also overestimates the natural inclination of states to apply their responsibility to protect when civilians such as IDPs are in danger.

How can the concept be of any help then when one knows that the vast majority of new cases of internal displacement are caused by governments? Second, as Chapter 4 argued, the Security Council will tend to apply R2P only when internal displacement involves the risk of spreading over borders and destabilizing neighboring countries, thus threatening international peace and security.

This means that, while location should not matter, it in fact critically determines whether or not states will respond to crises of internal displacement. Finally and more generally, the prospects of establishing an international norm of a Responsibility to Protect are extremely low. As seen in chapters 4 and 5, the success of a norm depends on its promotion by credible norm entrepreneurs, its broad acceptance and its clarity and specificity, among other things. Although the embrace of a localised version of R2P by ASEAN members is encouraging, clearly the war in Iraq has impeded and damaged the process of norm emergence and norm acceptance.

Although the dissertation concludes that at this point in time the Responsibility to Protect cannot provide effective protection for IDPs, it remains convinced that concrete measures must be taken to respond to their plight. The international community, international and regional organizations as well as states and individuals have to find ways to accommodate the reality of power politics with humanitarian concerns. The dissertation has suggested that two types of strategies should be developed.

Talk:Responsibility to protect

The most achievable and realistic one would be to mobilize resources to develop the prevention pillar with a special focus on early warning detection of displacement and the promotion of national solidarity campaigns to neutralize negative stigmas to which IDPs frequently suffer from. The second strategy, achievable only on the longer term, would be to modify the way Western governments perceive their interests. Ackerman, Alice. Journal of Peace Research 40 3 pp.

Acharya A. Ayoob M. Bagshaw S. Barutciski M. Bellamy A. Journal of Peace Research 46 1 pp. Bagshaw J. Boli J. Chandler D.

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Phil Orchard

Orchard P. Phuong, C. Samaddar Power, Fear, Ethics, in C. Joshua Thomas ed. Risse T. Learn how you can make a contribution here. Cameroon See all Cameroon There is an imminent risk of mass atrocity crimes due to widespread violence between government forces and armed separatists in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon. The armed extremist group Boko Haram also poses an ongoing threat. Violent repression by the security forces resulted in arbitrary arrests, sexual violence and the killing of civilians in the north-west and south-west regions. The crisis deepened after October when Anglophone separatists proclaimed independence, declaring a new state of "Ambazonia.

As the conflict has intensified, there has been growing evidence of the security forces perpetrating extrajudicial killings and torture, as well as burning Anglophone villages. Armed separatist forces have also perpetrated abuses, including kidnappings and killing civilians. Due to a ban on government education by armed separatists, 80 percent of the schools in the two regions have closed and at least 74 have been destroyed. On 20 August the leader of the self-declared Governing Council of Ambazonia, Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, and nine followers were sentenced to life imprisonment for rebellion.

In response, armed separatists attacked villages and towns across the Anglophone region, resulting in 40 people being killed and tens of thousands displaced. The Anglophone and Francophone areas of Cameroon were unified in , but there have been long-term disputes over the extent to which access to government resources is controlled by the French-speaking majority.

Although the Anglophone minority constitutes 20 percent of the population of Cameroon, they are a majority in the north-west and south-west regions. The group continues to commit atrocities in the far north of Cameroon, including the abduction, mutilation and killing of civilians.


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During military operations against Boko Haram there have been widespread allegations of the security forces perpetrating extrajudicial killings. As of June , there are , internally displaced persons in the far north region. As a result of ongoing violence and insecurity in Cameroon, 4.