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The Responsibility to Protect: A Wide or Narrow Conception?

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the merits of the different ways of conceptualizing Responsibility to Protect (RtoP). It finds that whilst the claim that it is wrong to privilege some sources of insecurity over others is compelling, there are strong grounds for resisting the urge to call for a widening of the scope of RtoP. The chapter proceeds in four parts. The first section sets out the meaning and scope of RtoP. The second section examines calls for widening the principle to cover a broader range of human security problems and identifies key problems, using the international response to Cyclone Nargis in 2008 as an example. The third section provides some interim evidence to suggest that RtoP's narrow focus helps it to add value to human protection. The final section offers the logic of 'sovereignty as responsibility' as an alternative framework for those wanting to pursue a broader human security agenda.

Keywords: Cyclone Nargis; human protection; human security agenda; Responsibility to Protect (RtoP)



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