Protection of Civilians and the Responsibility to Protect: Perspectives and Precedents in the Asia-Pacific

Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect

October 2009


The APCR2P published a new report, Protection of Civilians and the Responsibility to Protect: Perspectives and Precedents in the Asia-Pacific, by Charles T. Hunt. This new report discusses POC and RtoP and their connection to one another, explaining that though the two concepts are closely linked, the scope of RtoP is narrower than that of POC, and RtoP applies to situations beyond armed conflict. Nations in the Asia-Pacific region, in spite of their traditional non-interventionist policies have been generally supportive of protecting populations. In briefing on the POC debates in the Security Council, the report specifically discusses the contributions of China, Indonesia, Viet Nam, Australia, Japan and Myanmar in the Security Council POC meetings in May 2008 and January 2009.


China was very vocal in connecting POC to RtoP and supporting both during the May 2008 meeting. Although maintaining that RtoP needs to be further defined, China’s attention to the concept and terms for its implementation showed a growing support for the norm. Later in January, China essentially reiterated its May 2008 statement, but paid less attention to RtoP. Indonesia did not use RtoP language during either meeting, but discussed the role the international community has to play in protecting populations. Viet Nam expressed support for RtoP principles during both meetings although focusing on capacity building and voicing the importance of non-interference. Australia has been a strong supporter of RtoP and focused on the operationalization of RtoP as part of the advancement of the POC agenda at both POC meetings. Japan has been very supportive of the POC agenda, and though preferring to focus on human security rather than RtoP, has also expressed support for the norm. Myanmar has been less supportive of RtoP, but did describe POC as needing an international instrument to enforce its agenda.


Read the full report.