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The United Nations and the Responsibility to Protect

Edward C. Luck
Policy Analysis Brief
August 2008

The 2005 World Summit’s adoption of the responsibility to protect was an historic step in the evolution of human rights and humanitarian law. Much attention is focused on one aspect—forceful intervention—that creates political firestorms. However, responsibility to protect is richer, deeper, and more varied than forceful intervention. Much of what was articulated in the World Summit Outcome Document is not politically contentious, but rather requires further conceptual development and capacity-building. This brief addresses the conceptual underpinnings of the responsibility to protect, the political importance of it, and the steps that need to be taken to make it operational.

Read "Actualizing the Responsibility to Protect," the report of the Stanley Foundation's 43rd Conference on the United Nations of the Next Decade.

Listen to audio from "The United Nations and the Responsibility to Protect," an October 2, 2008, event featuring Edward C. Luck. Part 1 (MP3). Part 2 (MP3).

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