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The Responsibility to Protect: The First Decade

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It is early for definitive assessments of RtoP's future as a policy instrument. Like a maturing child, we know more about its talents and aptitudes than about how they will be nurtured or stunted in the years ahead. The generally positive dialogue in the General Assembly in July 2011 suggests that the Member States understand the difference between a principle and the tactics to implement it. Building on conceptual and political progress, the United Nations is applying RtoP perspectives to a growing number of situations. In five of these, it appears to have helped save lives. Big challenges and uncertainties lie ahead, however. Perceptions of RtoP's political clout are proving to be a mixed blessing, while questions of selectivity, sovereignty, and possible misuse remain. Five near-term priorities are identified.


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