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Implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1325: Putting the Responsibility to Protect into Practice

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Although the principle of the Responsibility to Protect has a number of supporters, there is still little agreement on institutional procedures to execute Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) systematically. This is due to a lack of consensus on how exactly to operationalize specific RtoP practices with regard to genocide, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, and war crimes. The acceptance of this line of thinking is peculiar in its ignorance of the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (UN 1325) on Women, Peace and Security, by militaries, both national and multinational, over the last five to ten years. Misunderstanding, underutilization, and neglect of the UN 1325 mandate within the RtoP community has caused many important developments in the field to be overlooked. This article attempts to begin filling that gap. It presents an overview of what UN 1325 is about and compares UN 1325 to the Responsibility to Protect agenda. It also examines how implementing UN 1325 in UN and NATO peace and security operations is pushing the RtoP agenda forward in practical, not theoretical, terms in three key areas of military peace and security operations - the transformation of doctrine, command structure, and capabilities.

Affiliations: 1: Fellow, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Email:, URL:


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