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‘Responsibility to protect’ not easy to make reality

North America

‘Responsibility to protect’ not easy to make reality

Nearly two decades ago, Michael Ignatieff, a future Liberal party leader and would-be prime minister, was instrumental in formulating a concept we may want to revisit in the aftermath of the tragedy of Aleppo.

In 2001, Ignatieff was one of three members of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty set up by the Canadian government and charged with finding a way that would justify nations violating the sovereignty of another nation to prevent, in the words of then UN secretary general Kofi Annan, “gross and systematic violations of human rights.”

Ignatieff is widely associated with the concept that emerged from this commission: “responsibility to protect,” or R2P.

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