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R.I.P. R2P: On the controversial ‘responsibility to protect’ doctrine and why it adds no value to disasters

Chapter in book
Authors Karen da Costa
Published in Routledge Handbook of Human Rights and Disasters
Pages 27-42
ISBN 9781351630009
Publisher Routledge
Publication year 2018
Published at School of Global Studies
Pages 27-42
Language en
Subject categories Globalization Studies


This chapter critically analyses the ‘responsibility to protect’ (R2P) doctrine, focusing on the possibility of applying it to disasters. Beyond reviewing the notion of R2P, it considers whether and how this concept can be used in the context of disasters. The emblematic example addressed is the Nargis cyclone that hit Myanmar in 2008. The chapter suggests that R2P is in itself problematic, both conceptually and in practice, and that as it stands it adds little value to disasters. It further contends that, in relation to disasters, preference should be given to strengthening collaboration among different actors. In disasters, coercive military action seems generally to be a bad idea, and less forceful measures should be encouraged. It concludes with a reflection based on a few normative standards covering disasters. © 2018 selection and editorial material, Flavia Zorzi Giustiniani, Emanuele Sommario, Federico Casolari and Giulio Bartolini; individual chapters, the contributors.

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