World Peacekeeping

April 2007 • Volume 1, Issue 4
Do nation-states have a “Responsibility to Protect”?
By Lee Michael Katz

Introduction

Since 1999, U.N. peacekeeping and police forces, including these Thai troops, have helped keep order in East Timor, now the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste.  (Getty Images/Antonio Dasiparu)
Since 1999, U.N. peacekeeping and police forces, including these Thai troops, have helped keep order in East Timor, now the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. (Getty Images/Antonio Dasiparu)

After the United Nations arose from the ashes of the Holocaust, the world's collective vow “Never again” seemed ironclad and irrevocable. As part of its effort to prevent future wars and genocides, the U.N. began to station peacekeepers around the globe, beginning in 1948 in Jerusalem. But the peacekeeping missions have had limited success. Now, prompted by the horror of the killings in Rwanda and Darfur, and before that in Bosnia, the world body has adopted a controversial new concept — the Responsibility to Protect — designed to stop future catastrophes. Known as R2P, it holds that the world community has a moral duty to halt genocide — even inside a sovereign country. But detractors call R2P legal imperialism, and even its defenders admit that the rhetoric has not yet translated into meaningful aid for Darfur. Other international alliances, meanwhile, have stepped up to provide military muscle to keep the peace in other hotspots, including NATO and the European and African unions.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
United Nations
Jun. 24, 2016  Reforming the U.N.
Sep. 04, 2012  Millennium Development Goals
Mar. 20, 2012  Assessing the United Nations
Apr. 2007  World Peacekeeping
Feb. 27, 2004  The United Nations and Global Security
Aug. 18, 1995  United Nations At 50
Jul. 27, 1990  A Revitalized United Nations in the 1990s
Oct. 04, 1985  United Nations at Forty
Aug. 29, 1975  United Nations at Thirty
Oct. 05, 1966  Future of the United Nations
Aug. 19, 1964  United Nations Peacekeeping
Sep. 18, 1963  Afro-Asians in United Nations
Mar. 07, 1962  United Nations Financing
Sep. 12, 1961  United Nations Reorganization
Jun. 20, 1960  United Nations: 1945–1960
Jan. 09, 1957  Policing by United Nations
Mar. 28, 1952  Treaties and Domestic Law
May 28, 1948  Revision of the United Nations
Sep. 18, 1946  Veto Power in United Nations
Jun. 12, 1945  National Sovereignty
Apr. 05, 1945  San Francisco, Yalta, and Dumbarton Oaks
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Peacekeeping
United Nations
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