This month marks the fourth anniversary of the start of Syria’s civil war. Yet another year has gone by, and the failure of the world to protect civilians in conflict zones remains as noticeable as ever. A United Nations-backed report released this month has found that 80 per cent of Syrians now live in poverty and the country’s average life expectancy has dropped by 20 years. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Syrians now account for the largest population of displaced people in the world. Following the horrors of the Rwandan genocide, the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine was adopted unanimously by all countries at the UN World Summit in 2005. Its purpose was to protect human rights by transforming national sovereignty from being an inviolable right to being a responsibility to protect one’s population from mass atrocity crimes, namely genocide, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
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