Professor Alex Bellamy (University of Queensland) discusses new challenges for implementing Responsibility to Protect (R2P) principles in the current age.
Bellamy, who is also Director of the Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, outlines his view that R2P has gained normative acceptance throughout the international community at a much higher level that in previous decades. Significant progress has been achieved such as putting North Korean human rights on the table. With the rumbling year of politics in 2016, however, Bellamy finds that R2P protectors must be on alert. As far back as 2012, long before the time of Trump, he suggests that R2P was challenged by an increased prevalence of atrocity crimes, displaced persons and extremist activities concurrent with a decline in international capacity to handle these issues. Countries were failing to practically implement R2P despite their implicit agreement with its promises. The dearth of leadership from the United States under the next administration, he says, will only make things more challenging. Despite these concerns though, Bellamy remains optimistic about the future of R2P and proposes six ideas to protect R2P itself. These range from searching out leadership beyond the West and striving for more complete implementation of existing policies.