'Speaking R2P' and the Prevention of Mass Atrocities

Nicholas Wheeler, Frazer Egerton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Within a very short space of time the 'Responsibility to Protect' has moved from a concept developed by a small international commission to a crucial concept in world politics. As an effort to balance considerations of state sovereignty with humanitarian concerns, it is a highly innovative and promising normative development. Nonetheless, there are important difficulties in both operationalising and entrenching it. Three of these are considered in this article: first, the crucial contestation over the meaning of the concept; second, the failure thus far of the concept to significantly generate the political will to intervene; and finally, the difficulties that persist in relation to the question of where authority should reside for the use of force to prevent and end situations of humanitarian emergency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-132
Number of pages19
JournalGlobal Responsibility to Protect
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009


  • International Commission on Intervention and State
  • UN Security Council
  • Secretary-General High-Level Panel on Threats
  • Challenges and Change
  • Use of Force
  • Sovereignty as Responsibility
  • Humanitarian Intervention
  • R2p Lite
  • Darfur
  • Kosovo


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