Remarks by Patricia O'Brien

By O'Brien, Patricia | Proceedings of the Annual Meeting-American Society of International Law, Annual 2012 | Go to article overview

Remarks by Patricia O'Brien


O'Brien, Patricia, Proceedings of the Annual Meeting-American Society of International Law


As we are limited by time, I will focus my comments on the concept of the responsibility to protect (R2P) in the context of current work at the United Nations, and its implementation in the situations of Libya and Syria.

2005 WORLD SUMMIT

In 2005, more than 150 heads of state unanimously embraced the responsibility to protect. They declared that "each individual State has the responsibility to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity," and that "the international community, through the United Nations, also has the responsibility ... to help protect populations" from those crimes.

THE THREE PILLARS OF R2P

In addressing the challenge of "operationalizing" R2P, the Secretary-General has identified three pillars of action. Pillar I is the enduring responsibility of states to protect their populations. Pillar II is the role of the international community to assist states to protect their populations before crises and conflicts escalate to the level of the commission of R2P crimes. And Pillar III involves a commitment that states "are prepared to take collective action in a timely and decisive manner, through the Security Council, in accordance with the Charter ... where national authorities are manifestly failing to protect their populations." The commitment also includes action under Chapters VI and VIII, as well as under Chapter VII, and includes cooperation with relevant regional organizations, as appropriate. And, of course, the concept is necessarily limited by the legal framework provided under the Charter. Any decision of the Security Council to take action would require the concurring votes of each permanent member. This underscores that R2P does not create any additional exceptions to the prohibition on the use of force under the Charter--the exceptions being acts in self defense and acts authorized by the Security Council.

Most states have agreed that the role of the United Nations should focus, at the outset, on prevention. The challenge for giving true practical meaning to the concept is thus to work out how the UN can best assist states to protect their populations before crisis situations occur, particularly as there will be situations in which the Security Council will not authorize enforcement action under Chapter VII. This challenge has yet to be met, and, of course, differs with each unique situation.

R2P GIVES EXPRESSION TO IMPORTANT INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENTS

R2P gives expression to what has become a global-wide conviction that it is immoral and unacceptable for states to allow gross violations of the human rights of their populations, and that the international community has a responsibility to prevent these crimes. In this light, R2P has grown out of a number of important developments. It reflects a recognition of the changing nature of conflict since the drafting of the Charter in 1945--today most conflicts occur within states rather than between them. It signifies a broad acceptance of fundamental principles of human rights, and reinforces the normative content of the crimes of genocide, war crimes (ethnic cleansing), and crimes against humanity. And it affirms states' obligations under international law to prevent, prosecute, and punish these crimes.

At the heart of R2P is the recognition that state sovereignty--the cornerstone of international relations--entails responsibility. States have a responsibility to protect their populations from the R2P crimes. Building upon this responsibility is the positive obligation which is placed upon the international community to assist states to meet their responsibilities and to take action where these responsibilities are not met. This notion of sovereignty as responsibility underscores that sovereignty is the basis for a certain status and authority under international law, as well as for enduring obligations towards one's people. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Remarks by Patricia O'Brien
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.