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The Power of the Private Sector in Preventing Atrocities and Promoting the Responsibility to Protect

Policy Dialogue Brief
December 2016

Past events have demonstrated that business can play a positive role in preventing atrocities. During the Kenyan elections of 2012–2013 and the 2011 Arab Spring uprising in Tunisia, businesses demonstrated they can help diffuse potentially tragic situations.

The private sector often is seen as politically neutral, allowing it to serve as a convener and participant in private diplomacy for peace. Because the business community also often works with state and nonstate actors, it can sometimes act as an intermediary to promote peaceful resolutions.

At the Stanley Foundation’s 57th annual Strategy for Peace Conference, October 26–28, 2016, participants in the roundtable "The Power of the Private Sector in Preventing Atrocities and Promoting the Responsibility to Protect" agreed that the successful implementation of the Responsibility to Protect principle requires the participation of the private sector. The roundtable participants recommended that atrocity prevention experts engage with businesses. Roundtable participants also pressed for more case studies on the role of the private sector in atrocity prevention, and for updates to international standards to include more-specific measures for atrocity prevention.
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