Transnational Institute – The Responsibility to Protect, views from a panel debate
by Denis Halliday, Fiona Dove and Phyllis Bennis
2 November 2009
On 24 September 2008 the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, in cooperation with the Uppsala Association of Foreign Aff airs (UF), a students’ organisation at Uppsala University, held a public seminar on the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP or R2P). Exploring the provocative guiding question, as to whether RtoP is ‘a double edged sword’, three committed speakers presented their views, as documented in the following pages, to around 100 attentively listening students.
The exchange ended in a lively debate and the shared awareness that despite all concerns about the risks involved this new paradigm might provide a tool, which – if used carefully and responsibly – could at least reduce (if not prevent) more human disasters of the magnitude of the genocide in Rwanda or the appalling consequences of what is euphemistically termed ‘collateral damage’ caused among innocent civilians through one-sided wars imposed on regimes considered to be rogue states. But at the same time the speakers shared the concerns of many others with regard to the risks that such a far-reaching interventionist doctrine might imply. After all, the power of definition over the appliance of such a doctrine is a highly sensitive matter and not protected from abuse. (Excerpts from introduction by Henning Melber,Executive Director at the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation)
The report features the following speakers and articles:
Fiona Dove, Executive Director of TNI, Responsibility to Protect
Denis Halliday, part of TNI/Dag Hammarskjold's UN reform project, Responsibility to Protect—why not?
Phyllis Bennis, Director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies –The Responsibility to Protect –Who gets protection? How can it happen?
Read the full report.