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R2P in Syria

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Simone Passarelli

on 12 November 2013

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Transcript of R2P in Syria

R2P in Syria
The Basics of R2P
- 3 Pillars -
Understanding the Syrian Conflict
- Inherent in the concept of sovereignty is a state's responsibility to protect its populations; and

- If a population is suffering serious harm, and the state in question is unwilling or unable to halt or avert it, the responsibility to protect those people lies in the international community.
Death Toll in Syria
Timeline of R2P and Syria
July- December
Failed UN attempts
Source: Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/world/syrian-uprising-one-year-of-bloodshed/index.html
Nation-wide uprisings
Opposition organizes
Spillover to neighboring
Arab League suspends its mission (Dec)
Creation of National
Coalition (Nov)
Kofi Annan Resigns (Aug)
Army in Deraa, Banyas, Homs (May)
Syrian National Council
Free Syrian Army (FSA)
National coordination committee (NCC)
NEW: National Coalition (Nov. '12)
President Bashar Al-Assad
Regular army
Police and Security Services
1. Dan - What is R2P?
2. Noemi - The situation in Syria
3. Simone - International Players
4. Teresia - Humanitarian Actors
5. Kamil - Comparison Cases
6. The Way Forward
Sovereignty is
a privilege
not a right
OCHA Operations Director at the fifth Syrian Humanitarian Forum Nov 2012:
“As humanitarians, we do not have the capacity to end the conflict… but we have an obligation to give voice to that appeal from the people. And that appeal should go to the ears of those who have the political power to bring about a resolution to this conflict,”
Humanitarian Statement on Syria Crisis
R2P In Practice
Response to R2P in Libya
International Actors
Civil Society - Amnesty international, HRW
UN – Human Rights Council, OHCHR
Humanitarian organizations - but more based on IHL

Numbers of deaths
Number of displaced
IDPs c.500,00
Refugees 2.5m to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey
Sanctions had failed to halt the violence and mass atrocities were imminent, but had they and other measures been exhausted?
NATO criticized for 'liberally interpreting'
bombing targets that had nothing to do with protecting civilians
BRICS have accused Western gov's of using R2P with political motivations rather than humanitarian
R2P is not about regime change
The Way Forward
R2P allows for use of military intervention which is controversially termed as humanitarian intervention

Military and humanitarian interventions are a source of tension especially on the humanitarian principles

International organizations i.e. ICRC calls on respect for IHL
R2P and Humanitarian Intervention
R2P - better understood as "Right to Protect"
“As humanitarians, we do not have the capacity to end the conflict… but we have an obligation to give voice to that appeal from the people. And that appeal should go to the ears of those who have the political power to bring about a resolution to this conflict,”
Humanitarian Statement on Syria Crisis
Syria has put
R2P on trial

chances of success"?

Hypocrisy of the international community?
Involvement of State Actors
United States, European Union, Arab League
Current sanctions in place
US, UK, France have sent non-military aid to opposition forces
Historically a close ally with Syria, but now sheltering refugees and condemning Assad regime's actions, border clashes
Syrian Supporters
China and Russia
Russia's $4 billion arms contract
China's purchase of oil
Both claim their actions do not violate any laws
Syria's strongest ally- do not want regime change
Military support and anti-western sentiments could protract conflict
State Actors in Opposition
UN Action
Under the 3rd provision of R2P, when a country fails to protect its own people, the international community can intervene as a last resort
Military interventions optimally should be approved by the UN Security Council
UN Security Council does not unanimously support intervention- China and Russia have brought action to deadlock
while Protecting
Implications of State Involvement for R2P
Active fighting with Turkey and military support by Iran complicates military intervention
How does the veto power in the UN change the meaning of "responsibility"?
When is it justified to bypass the UN Security Council in order to uphold that responsibility?
The role of sovereignty in military intervention, now and as a future precedent
"We have agreed that the concept does not stand in contradiction to State sovereignty. Rather, it reaffirms sovereignty as a positive responsibility in which Governments are meant to protect their populations." -UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on R2P
"The rules of engagement of the Turkish Armed Forces have changed ... Turkey will support Syrian people in every way until they get rid of the bloody dictator and his gang." - Turkish Prime Minister
Non-UNSC Cases
Kenya 2008
Georgia 2008
Myanmar 2008
5 UNSC Resolutions
Darfur 2007
Libya 2011 - 2 times
Côte d'Ivoire 2011
Yemen 2012

“Our debates are about how, not whether, to implement the responsibility the protect. No government questions the principle.” – Ban Ki-moon
1. A state has a responsibility to protect

2. The international community has a responsibility to assist the state

3. If the state fails, the international community has the responsibility to intervene
19 March 2011
UN Res. 1973
Economic consequences for companies
Regional and international isolation

1) Needing to improve the monitoring and assessment of UN Security Council sanctioned use of force

2) Raising questions about the sequencing of R2P's three pillars

3) Stressing the need to exhaust all peaceful means before considering the use of force
Is there a case to be made for intervention in Syria under R2P doctrine? Yes, but...

This "norm" is a work in progress

1) Is it possible for an operation to be confined to protecting civilians? mission creep/conflation
2) Air power looks and feels like regime change
3) Is intervention really cloaked imperialism?
Full transcript