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From 'Sovereignty as Responsibility' to the 'Responsibility to Protect'

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This essay examines the origins and evolution of the concepts of 'sovereignty as responsibility' and the 'responsibility to protect'. In particular, it considers the role and duty of states and how ideas of sovereignty have evolved since the modern nation-state was conceived by the European Treaty of Westphalia of 1648. It then examines the responsibility of states towards their own citizens and traces the development of the R2P norm in Africa as it has related to conflict prevention, management, and resolution since the end of the Cold War. The essay further considers the responsibilities of national democratic governments in Africa and beyond. Recent developments that have widened the scope and helped the acceptance and application of the concept of 'sovereignty as responsibility' are discussed, and the essay concludes with an examination of the accountability and enforcement challenges faced by R2P.


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