20 September 2011
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We are pleased to share with you ICRtoP’s latest educational tool clarifying the third pillar of the Responsibility to Protect.
Too often, Member States, media and NGOs conflate the third pillar of the Responsibility to Protect with the use of force. This misunderstanding has been exacerbated in the aftermath of the international community’s response to the crisis in Libya because of concerns over the way NATO enforced its mandate to protect populations from mass atrocities.
The three pillar approach was first articulated in Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s 2009 Report Implementing the Responsibility to Protect. The first pillar states that Member States bear the primary responsibility to protect their populations from mass atrocities. The second pillar defines the responsibility of the international community to assist states in protecting populations. To clarify, the third pillar states that the international community must respond in a timely and decisive manner to imminent threats of mass atrocities with a broad range of measures, including both peaceful and military measures. These measures can be employed by multiple actors within and outside of the United Nations whenever a state fails to prevent genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing.Military operations, which are only one part of the third pillar, can be authorized by the Security Council if peaceful measures prove inadequate.
We invite you to read ICRtoP’s new, two-page document where we spell out the many measures that fall under the third pillar of the Responsibility to Protect and the actors involved in implementing these measures.