Wednesday 4 April 2007

A Responsibility to Protect: The World's View

My then-boss, Gareth Evans, and I wrote this piece for openDemocracy on 4 April 2007. In it, we looked at the "responsibility to protect" doctrine in light of some encouraging new global public opinion research and what it meant for crisis-areas such as Darfur. It was subsequently republished in a number of newspapers, including the Swiss Le Temps.


Trying to draw sustained international media attention to violent conflicts and mass atrocities around the world is a depressing business. The subject-matter is deeply disturbing, attention-spans are limited, and it is often hard to tell if publics are taking any notice in a way that is likely, in turn, to make their governments more responsive.

On Darfur, for example, non-governmental organisations such as the International Crisis Group have been ringing alarm-bells for over three years, yet effective international action to stop the state-sponsored violence has not materialised.

But new evidence suggests the message is getting across, at least on one level.