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The Responsibility to Protect – A Way Forward
Omar Halim
Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies
July 2010
This Insight investigates the origins and evolution of international intervention from the foundation of the United Nations in 1945 up to and beyond the inclusion of the Responsibility to Protect in the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document. It focuses on the role of United Nations peacekeeping forces and the internal and external bids and influences on their establishment. This Insight argues that the international community cannot stand by while mass atrocities occur but needs to recognise the reasons behind the reluctance to endorse the Responsibility to Protect in developing states. It evaluates under what conditions the Responsibility to Protect is able to operate and suggests ways forward (…)
A Way Forward
Under the present circumstances, there is no doubt that our globalised world cannot watch idly as events in Somalia; Darfur, Sudan; Myanmar or Zimbabwe unfold. It should be noted that there is a significant difference between Somalia on the one hand, and Myanmar, Zimbabwe, and perhaps Sudan on the other. In Somalia, there is no functioning government that is capable of controlling the whole country. The country is essentially carved into areas that are each controlled by various clans and sub-clans. The difference these days, compared to two decades ago, is the emergence of Islamist groups such as Al Shahab. Therefore, there is no institution in Somalia that can exercise authority throughout the whole country and is capable of protecting the whole population. Somalia is a failed state.
In Myanmar and Zimbabwe, on the other hand, the government is capable of exercising physical control over the whole country. The government is however antagonistic to certain groups within their own populations, for various reasons. In this case, the government is capable of protecting the sovereignty of the nation state vis-à-vis outsiders, yet there could be a significant number of its people who suffer or are made to suffer. The case of Darfur in Sudan is probably somewhere in between these two cases, where the government seems to be in control of significant amounts of its territory, but either undertakes or allows ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity to take place in its Darfur region (…)
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