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Framing the Responsibility to Protect

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The 2009 Sri Lankan Civil War

image of Global Responsibility to Protect

The Responsibility to Protect (r2p), as enshrined in the 2005 World Summit Outcome document, aims to protect populations from the commission of mass atrocities. Yet both Sri Lankan government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (ltte) forces killed thousands of civilians during the conclusion of Eelam War Four in Sri Lanka, in spite of the adoption of r2p by the Sri Lankan government. In this article, I argue that these atrocities occurred with little involvement on the part of the international community to stop them, in large part due to existing international political dynamics, which the framing efforts of the Sri Lankan government played upon. The government was able to determine the dominant discourse on the conflict and portrayed it as part of the War on Terror. This facilitated states in supporting the government in the conflict, while diminishing criticism from actors that may otherwise have been more supportive of the invocation of r2p.

Affiliations: 1: University of Queensland,


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