“Civilians in Harm’s Way: A Tale of Two Protection Norms”
Norms of Protection: Responsibility to Protect, Protection of Civilians and Their Interaction
A series of humanitarian tragedies in the last two decades demonstrated the failure of the international community to protect civilians in the context of civil wars and complex emergencies. These brought to life two concepts of protection — Responsibility to Protect (R2P) and Protection of Civilians (POC). Both were deeply rooted in the empathy that human beings have for the suffering of innocent people and both have achieved high-level normative endorsement in the UN General Assembly and UN Security Council resolutions, and were also conceptually developed through several UN Secretary-General reports. The two concepts can be open for misinterpretation and misuse, but they are nevertheless developing — sometimes in parallel, sometimes diverging and sometimes converging — with varying degrees of institutionalization and acceptance. The two norms were instrumental in adopting Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973 (Libya) and 1975 (Côte d’Ivoire), an example of how norms can be efficiently implemented in addressing present deadly risks to human life. However, the continuous massacres in Syria demonstrate the opposite – the shortages and difficulties in implementation of the two norms.
This symposium will present the outcomes of a joint project on R2P and POC, undertaken by the Institute for Ethics, Governance and Law (a joint initiative of the United Nations University, Griffith, QUT, Australian National University, Center for Asian Integrity in Manila and OP Jindal Global University in Delhi) and United Nations University Headquarters in Tokyo. These outcomes can be found in the recently published UNU Press book Norms of Protection: Responsibility to Protect, Protection of Civilians and Their Interaction (2012) and the UNU policy guide Policy Guide to the Responsibility to Protect and the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflicts (2012).
The symposium will address the following questions:
Attendance is free, but advance registration (by 11 March) is required. Please click on the registration link at the top of this page to access the online registration form.
Elizabeth Rose Hall (5F)
United Nations University
Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-8925