Responsibility to Protect
The right to protection from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity has been embraced by the international community since it was adopted at the 2005 World Summit.
The principle, known as the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), affirms that sovereign states have a primary responsibility to protect their own citizens. If the state is unable or unwilling to exercise this responsibility, the international community must act to help protect populations from these crimes.
Darfur is the first test case of the international community's commitment to this principle. The government of Sudan has demonstrated that it does not have the will to protect the people of Darfur. The international community must exercise its responsibility to protect the people of Darfur immediately.
Interview on R2P
R2P expert Prof. Alex Bellamy gave an interview at a DAN event about the role of R2P in Darfur and Australia's role on the UN Security Council in working towards resolution of the Darfuri conflict.
2005 World Summit
The responsibility to protect was first endorsed by the international community at the World Summit for the 60th anniversary of the United Nations in 2005. The commitments made at the World Summit were that:
"Each individual State has the responsibility to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. This responsibility entails the prevention of such crimes, including their incitement, through appropriate and necessary means. We accept that responsibility and will act in accordance with it. The international community should, as appropriate, encourage and help States to exercise this responsibility and support the United Nations in establishing an early warning capability."
"The international community, through the United Nations, also has the responsibility to use appropriate diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means, in accordance with Chapters VI and VIII of the Charter of the United Nations, to help protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. In this context, we are prepared to take collective action, in a timely and decisive manner, through the Security Council, in accordance with the Charter, including Chapter VII, on a case-by case basis and in cooperation with relevant regional organizations as appropriate, should peaceful means be inadequate and national authorities are manifestly failing to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. We stress the need for the General Assembly to continue consideration of the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity and its implications, bearing in mind the principles of the Charter and international law. We also intend to commit ourselves, as necessary and appropriate, to helping States build capacity to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity and to assisting those which are under stress before crises and conflicts break out."
A full copy of the World Summit document can be downloaded from: www.responsibilitytoprotect.org