Responsibility to Protect

Responsibility to Protect

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At the 2005 UN World Summit, world leaders endorsed the international principle of Responsibility to Protect (R2P), acknowledging that they had a responsibility to protect their citizens from genocide and mass atrocities and pledging to act in cases where governments manifestly failed in their responsibility. This marked a significant turning point in attitudes towards the protection of citizens worldwide.



This important new book charts the emergence of this principle, from its origins in a doctrine of sovereignty as responsibility, through debates about the legitimacy of humanitarian intervention and the findings of a prominent international commission, and finally through the long and hard negotiations that preceded the 2005 commitment. It explores how world leaders came to acknowledge that sovereign rights entailed fundamental responsibilities and what that acknowledgment actually means. The book goes on to analyze in detail the ways in which R2P can contribute to the global effort to end genocide and mass atrocities. Focusing on the prevention of these crimes and the improvement of the world's reaction to them, the book explores the question of how to build sustainable peace in their aftermath. Alex J. Bellamy argues that although 2005 marked an important watershed, much more work is needed to defend R2P from those who would walk away from their commitments and - in the words of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon - to translate the principle 'from words into deeds'.



This fascinating book will appeal to students and scholars of international relations, international affairs, human rights and humanitarian emergencies, as well as anyone concerned about the protection of civilians on a global scale
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Product details

  • Paperback | 268 pages
  • 161 x 228 x 13mm | 382g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1. Auflage
  • 0745643485
  • 9780745643489
  • 427,004

Back cover copy

At the 2005 UN World Summit, world leaders endorsed theinternational principle of Responsibility to Protect (R2P), acknowledging that they had a responsibility to protect theircitizens from genocide and mass atrocities and pledging to act incases where governments manifestly failed in their responsibility.This marked a significant turning point in attitudes towards theprotection of citizens worldwide.

This important new book charts the emergence of this principle, from its origins in a doctrine of sovereignty as responsibility, through debates about the legitimacy of humanitarian interventionand the findings of a prominent international commission, andfinally through the long and hard negotiations that preceded the2005 commitment. It explores how world leaders came to acknowledgethat sovereign rights entailed fundamental responsibilities andwhat that acknowledgment actually means. The book goes on toanalyze in detail the ways in which R2P can contribute to theglobal effort to end genocide and mass atrocities. Focusing on theprevention of these crimes and the improvement of the world'sreaction to them, the book explores the question of how to buildsustainable peace in their aftermath. Alex J. Bellamy argues thatalthough 2005 marked an important watershed, much more work isneeded to defend R2P from those who would walk away from theircommitments and - in the words of UN Secretary-General BanKi-moon - to translate the principle 'from words intodeeds'.

This fascinating book will appeal to students and scholars ofinternational relations, international affairs, human rights andhumanitarian emergencies, as well as anyone concerned about theprotection of civilians on a global scale
show more

Table of contents

Acknowledgements viii


Abbreviations xii


Introduction 1


Chapter 1 Sovereignty and Human Rights 8


Chapter 2 The International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty 35


Chapter 3 The 2005 World Summit 66


Chapter 4 Prevention 98


Chapter 5 Reaction 132


Chapter 6 Rebuilding 167


Conclusion 195


Notes 200


Bibliography 223


Index 236
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Review Text

"A superb scholarly analysis of the concept. This is the resource for a detailed account of how R2P came to be, and an evaluation of its strengths and weaknesses. Bellamy begins by detailing the history of R2P, from its intellectual origins to its adoption by the UN in 2005. He does so in tremendous detail, drawing on a wealth of sources in providing the life-story of the concept likely to provide insight to even its keenest followers."Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding"Its clear and accessible style, as well as its meticulous discussion of the R2P's historical and political context, is well integrated into an analysis of the practical side of genocide prevention and peacekeeping."Times Higher Education"A fast-paced and illuminating account of international policy formation. In the literature of humanitarian history, Bellamy's account of the development of R2P is thus a worthy stable mate to Geoffrey Best's classic account of the development of international humanitarian law after 1945."International Affairs"Responsibility to Protect is an important and accessible treatment of one of the key recent political shifts in the contemporary internaional system, and as such should find a place on the bookshelf of anyone interested in the manner in which international relations is prosecuted in the new millenium."Political Studies Review"A clear, in-depth and analytical overview of the theoretical and practical dimensions of the R2P concept and norm in international relations. This book comes highly recommended."Central European Journal of International and Security Studies"Lucid, thoughtful, and eminently sensible, Alex Bellamy's Responsibility to Protect: The Global Effort to End Mass Atrocities should be must reading for scholars, commentators, and practitioners alike. He chronicles both the evolution of the principle and the struggles to put it into practice with a rare combination of rigorous scholarship, sophisticated analysis, and engaging prose."Edward Luck, Columbia University"Alex Bellamy's is a thoughtful and critical tale of efforts to remove the license to kill from the sovereign attributes of states. A Responsibility to Protect also explains brilliantly the politics of why necessary normative advances have, to date, not ended mass atrocity crimes."Thomas G. Weiss, City University of New York
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Review quote

"A superb scholarly analysis of the concept. This is the resource for a detailed account of how R2P came to be, and an evaluation of its strengths and weaknesses. Bellamy begins by detailing the history of R2P, from its intellectual origins to its adoption by the UN in 2005. He does so in tremendous detail, drawing on a wealth of sources in providing the life-story of the concept likely to provide insight to even its keenest followers." Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding "Its clear and accessible style, as well as its meticulous discussion of the R2P's historical and political context, is well integrated into an analysis of the practical side of genocide prevention and peacekeeping." Times Higher Education "A fast-paced and illuminating account of international policy formation. In the literature of humanitarian history, Bellamy's account of the development of R2P is thus a worthy stable mate to Geoffrey Best's classic account of the development of international humanitarian law after 1945." International Affairs "Responsibility to Protect is an important and accessible treatment of one of the key recent political shifts in the contemporary internaional system, and as such should find a place on the bookshelf of anyone interested in the manner in which international relations is prosecuted in the new millenium." Political Studies Review "A clear, in-depth and analytical overview of the theoretical and practical dimensions of the R2P concept and norm in international relations. This book comes highly recommended." Central European Journal of International and Security Studies "Lucid, thoughtful, and eminently sensible, Alex Bellamy's Responsibility to Protect: The Global Effort to End Mass Atrocities should be must reading for scholars, commentators, and practitioners alike. He chronicles both the evolution of the principle and the struggles to put it into practice with a rare combination of rigorous scholarship, sophisticated analysis, and engaging prose." Edward Luck, Columbia University "Alex Bellamy's is a thoughtful and critical tale of efforts to remove the license to kill from the sovereign attributes of states. A Responsibility to Protect also explains brilliantly the politics of why necessary normative advances have, to date, not ended mass atrocity crimes." Thomas G. Weiss, City University of New York
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About Alex J. Bellamy

Alexander Bellamy is Professor of International Security in the Griffith Asia Institute/Centre for Governance and Public Policy at Griffith University.
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Rating details

17 ratings
3.76 out of 5 stars
5 18% (3)
4 47% (8)
3 29% (5)
2 6% (1)
1 0% (0)
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