The Intervention and Responsibility to Protect Working Group annual conference took place at the European Centre for the Responsibility to Protect at the University of Leeds on 18 November, centred around reimagining the Responsibility to Protect to meet new challenges.
Over the course of the day, academics, PGRs, and early career researchers discussed a variety of new and continuing challenges for R2P, from contestation over the international role countries like China take in expanding or containing R2P norms, to challenging the narrow state-centric conceptualisation of R2P that still persist throughout the inconsistent applications and blind-spots of the practitioner bodies. Kate Ferguson from Protection Approaches provided insight into the links between activism, policy, and academia, with a focus on some of the core R2P questions – who is it for? Where does it begin? Where does the collective responsibility sit?
ECR2P Co-Director Adrian Gallagher presents on panel: ‘New Challenges for R2P Implementation and Responsibility’
Newly announced convenor Samuel Jarvis presents on panel: ‘Ongoing Contestation of R2P’
The keynote speech was delivered by Professor Alex Bellamy (University of Queensland) and examined the changing nature of R2P in the face of the return of great power politics. Despite the often repeated calls of a crisis in R2P, he argued that UN peacekeeping remains resilient and far better trained than it was a few decades ago, a deadlocked Security Council has seen more proactive General Assembly investigations and, though the return to regionalism could be seen as a Yalta-style international arrangement, there is hope yet for the cooperative ideal of R2P.
Professor Alex Bellamy’s Keynote speech: Between Brussels, Helsinki, and Yalta: Human Protection and the Return of Imperial Orders
Jason Ralph presents on panel: The Intersection between R2P and other Protection Norms and Neglected Contexts
Other news from the conference included the announcement of Samuel Jarvis as a new co-convenor for the IR2P Working Group. In April, Luke Glanville was awarded the Notable Book Award by the working group panel for his work ‘Sharing Responsibility: The History and Future of Protection from Atrocities - Human Rights and Crimes against Humanity’. Next year’s Notable Book Award and ECR Best Article Award will be opening for submissions in January 2023. Thank you to convenors, Chloë Gilgan and Bola Adediran, as well as Adrian Gallagher for all their hard work on putting this conference together.