R2P: Responsibility to Protect


Aisha al-Adawiya, the Founder of Women In Islam, Inc. & Board Member Sarah Sayeed recently attended a briefing at the UN on R2P: The Responsibility to Protect.  As explained by Marion Arnaud of the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect, R2P is a new international security and human rights norm to encourage countries to work independently and together to prevent and stop genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.  The work informing the R2P began in 2001, as an answer to Kofi Annan’s question of when countries must intervene for the protection of human rights.  An important accomplishment of R2P to date is that it accounts for a normative shift in how states think about sovereignty.  Typically, states conceive sovereignty in terms of borders and associate intervention to protect human rights as a limitation on sovereignty; a state may also stop itself as intervening in another state out of concern that such limitation infringes on state sovereignty.  R2P reformulates sovereignty so that it is now defined as responsiblity to protect its citizens, and it facilitates countries working together to protect human rights of all people.    It is a very important step in the right direction, but as noted by both Aisha al Adawiya and Blanche Foster, Executive Director of the Darfur Rehabilitation Project (DRP), countries and the UN must think more proactively to utilize R2P to make a difference in urgent and protracted conflicts around the globe, including Darfur and the Middle East.  Women In Islam, Inc. has been active on human rights abuses in both regions.   Learn more about R2P at the International Coalition for the Responsiblity to Protect.  The briefing was organized by Virginia Swain of the Institute for Global Leadership.

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