The Responsibility to Protect in a Post-Western World

Public Panel Discussion

University of Oxford
Department of Politics & International Relations
Seminar Room A


The discussion will be moderated by Thorsten Benner, director of the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi), Berlin.


The "Responsibility to Protect" (R2P) is an emerging international security and human rights norm that addresses the international community’s need to prevent and stop genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

The cases of Libya and Syria have elevated R2P to the very top of the global agenda. Implementing R2P is a central challenge of a human rights oriented security policy in the 21st century. Yet, central questions on the implementation of R2P remain unanswered. Who decides when to intervene, with which means and according to what rules? What does effective prevention look like? Twenty years after the Rwandan genocide, these questions have become more controversial as the West contends with emerging powers like the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). The R2P norm must adapt to shifts in the international world order or lose its relevance.

With panelists from China, India, Brazil and Europe, the discussion will approach these questions from a global perspective. Is it a Western concept? How should global rules for the prevention of mass atrocities accommodate the on-going power shifts? Is there convergence on the need to protect people through peacekeeping or ever more divisiveness on military intervention?


The discussion is part of the project “Global Norm Evolution and the Responsibility to Protect.” The speakers are members of several global institutions that have come together on this project to research and debate the role of major powers in crises situations with the contested evolution of the "R2P" norm.


For more information, please contact Gerrit Kurtz.