Sicherheitskultur im Wandel

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Norms and Practice of Humanitarian Interventions

Operationalizing the Responsibility to Protect

Authors’ Conference
14-16 June 2012
Konstanz University

Over the recent years, a number of new humanitarian principles and norms have evolved to protect defenseless populations from systematic state repression – most prominently the Responsibility to Protect, a principle that was adopted in the final document of the UN General Assembly in 2005. Intended to mark the preliminary end of a long process, in which the international community intended to draw lessons from the devastating failure of the UN in both Rwanda and Srebrenica, the adoption of the Responsibility to Protect – though occasionally rhetorically invoked – has not been the basis for much concrete and serious action, at least in the public perception. The example of the Responsibility to Protect reveals that there is a gap between normative innovation and the practice of norm implementation. This is particularly true for the ever-shifting patterns of global politics. The prevalent two-step view of norms (first, norms are decided upon; second, they are implemented) has obvious limits. This authors’ conference discusses the non-linearity of global norm developments, the global practice of norm implementation, and the ways, even workarounds, how actors try to operationalize norms in political decision-making and practical policy implementation.

Hence, the interlinked guiding themes of the contributions to this conference are:

  • The concrete practices of implementing and enforcing the Responsibility to Protect
  • A non-teleological understanding of global norm evolution and the concept of global norm erosion or failure
  • The inclusion of non-western perspectives on and practices of the Responsibility to Protect
  • The operationalization of the Responsibility to Protect

The conference’s contributions will be published in a peer-reviewed Routledge volume.

In case of any questions, please contact Julian Junk [Contact].

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