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The EU and the responsibility to protect in an illiberal era

Smith, Karen E. (2018) The EU and the responsibility to protect in an illiberal era. Dahrendorf Forum IV Working Paper (3). LSE Ideas, London, UK.

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Abstract

The 2005 United Nations agreement on the ‘responsibility to protect’ (R2P) populations from atrocities was intended to set acceptable boundaries to ‘humanitarian intervention’, but it is still extremely controversial and vulnerable in a world of increasing nationalism and illiberalism. Can the European Union help to ‘rescue’ R2P? This paper analyses how the EU has responded in three mass atrocity situations: Central African Republic (2012–14); the treatment of the Rohingya minority in Myanmar (2017–), and inter-ethnic violence in South Sudan (2016–). The cases reveal a number of weaknesses in EU responses: it responds to mass atrocities only after violence has seriously escalated, and the use of force to protect populations is still a step too far for many EU member states. The EU still lacks institutional mechanisms that incorporate mass atrocity prevention in its policymaking processes, but its responses more tellingly reveal the lack of commitment to making mass atrocity prevention a priority. The paper sets out several steps the EU could take to strengthen its capacity to prevent mass atrocities, if the member states could agree to do so. Yet ultimately, if the UN Security Council and other regional organisations are not willing to take action in response to mass atrocities, the EU on its own will have little influence. The EU still lacks institutional mechanisms that incorporate mass atrocity prevention in its policymaking processes, but its responses more tellingly reveal the lack of commitment to aking mass atrocity prevention a priority. The paper sets out several steps the EU could take to strengthen its capacity to prevent mass atrocities, if the member states could agree to do so. Yet ultimately, if the UN Security Council and other regional organisations are not illing to take action in response to mass atrocities, the EU on its own will have little influence.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL: http://www.dahrendorf-forum.eu/
Additional Information: © 2018 The Dahrendorf Forum
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > International Relations
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2018 09:59
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2019 23:27
Funders: Stiftung Mercator
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/90083

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