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Madeleine Albright and Richard Williamson Release New Report on Responsibility to Protect (R2P) at Symposium Titled The United States and R2P: From Words to Action
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
23 July 2013
new report co-authored by former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and former Presidential Special Envoy to Sudan Richard S. Williamson concludes that the United States ought to work to strengthen implementation of the doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) in order to better protect civilians from genocide and other forms of mass atrocity.

The report, released today at a symposium at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, is based on two years of deliberations by the Working Group on the Responsibility to Protect, a joint project of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Brookings Institution, and the United States Institute of Peace. The report states that the emerging doctrine of R2P is a useful tool that needs to be developed further, both in the US and globally, and recommends ways in which US policy makers can strengthen and better apply it. (…)

Since world leaders unanimously adopted the R2P doctrine as part of the 2005 United Nations World Summit outcome document, the international community has a mixed track record of applying it when mass violence is threatened or occurs. The report takes a critical look at the legacy of the international response in Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya, Syria, Libya, Cote d’Ivoire, and Sri Lanka. (…)

“If the R2P doctrine can do anything, it is to help move us away from a policy of indifference and waiting for the worst, and more aggressively toward adopting policies that prevent atrocities before they begin,” added Ambassador Williamson.

Some of the report’s key recommendations are that the US government should:

1)   At all levels and in all appropriate branches, commit to, report on, and assess the implementation of R2P, and articulate a clear vision of US support for atrocity prevention and the principles of R2P.

2)   Launch a global diplomatic initiative with international and regional bodies to strengthen the world’s capacity and commitment to prevent genocide and mass atrocities.

3)   Share the burden of responsibility by enhancing the capacity of regional organizations to provide emergency crisis settlement, peacekeeping, and civilian protection services to populations at risk.

4)   Explore all options, including the use of modern communication technologies, for appropriate nonmilitary ways to undermine the ability of would-be perpetrators to commit atrocities, and explore enhanced early warning mechanisms.

5)   Expand its policy of positive engagement with the International Criminal Court.


The Working Group on R2P is a bipartisan group comprising former senior US government officials, academics, foreign policy experts, political analysts, NGO leaders, and media professionals.
See full press release here.
See the United States Institute of Peace press release here.
Read the Working Group on R2P’s report, The United States and R2P: From Words to Action.
Read the keynote address given by Donald Steinberg here.

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