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Keys to the UN's responsibility to protect

Assume responsibility for the protection of peoples from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanitywas the political commitment made by the member states of the United Nations (UN) at the World Summit held in 2005. 

At that time, attention was focused on designing an international standard to ensure the responsibility to protect each population, with the intention to prevent and stop crimes on a large scale, after the world scenario will achieve the growth of Human Rights organizations to stop the threats against the integrity of the people.

What is the responsibility to protect

Responsibility to protect is anchored in individual responsibility The international community's responsibility to protect its inhabitants, the international community's responsibility to support other States in protecting their peoples and the international community's commitment to protect the populations of a State when it is unable to do so, or on the contrary, when it threatens its own security. The vision of this agreement is to achieve the eradication of this type of crime on the planet, in order to make it a safe place for development.

Discussions on humanitarian intervention in Kosovo and unsatisfactory UN experiences in Somalia, Rwanda and Bosnia.are part of the background to this global commitment. The supporting text is part of a section of the 2005 World Summit outcome document, called Responsibility to Protect Populations from Genocide, War Crimes, Ethnic Cleansing and Crimes against Humanity. 

It contains three articles (138, 139 and 140), however, the first and second of which provide the fundamental basis for this responsibility. Paragraph 138 defines the obligation of each State to protect its population from the aforementioned crimes, which entails the prevention of such crimes through specific measures. It also highlights the international community's support for states in exercising this responsibility.

The second paragraph (139) identifies the commitment of the international community to make use of appropriate diplomatic and humanitarian means. to protect peoples from these large-scale crimes. To this end, it calls for the adoption of collective measures, in a timely and decisive manner, taking into account the principles of international law, and through the Security Council, with the collaboration of the corresponding regional organizations. 

Responsibility to protect provides a framework for action to be taken as mediationThe United Nations has adopted a series of early warning and economic sanctions, in order to prevent and stop the commission of the crime, as agreed in Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations to maintain peace and restore international security.

The three responsibilities to protect

The responsibility to protect makes each State recognize and assume its duty to protect its inhabitants. in the face of the four aforementioned crimes. This responsibility encompasses, broadly speaking, three main mandates, according to the paper The "responsibility to protect" in the United Nations and the doctrine of the "responsibility to protect", published by Cecilia Añaños in the digital journal Scielo.

  1. The responsibility to prevent: focuses on the command to warn, to call attention to anticipate and stop the commission of crimes. 
  2. The responsibility to react: refers to the capacity to take collective measures, with the support of the international community, to sanction States that do not comply with their commitment to protect their inhabitants. These include economic, political, judicial and military measures, which may even include military intervention.
  3. The responsibility to rebuild: focuses on assistance for recovery, reconstruction and reconciliation, after having suffered some special intervention to prevent or stop the execution of large-scale crimes.

Annual reports on the responsibility to protect have been published since 2009.expanding its field of action in taking measures focused on governments, intergovernmental organizations, civil society, the private economic sector, among others.

The responsibility to protect has a long way to go, but its results have been favorable, its presence has brought together many people around the need to focus on avoiding and preventing crimes against humanity, which most strongly affect several countries in the world, and has met with natural resistance, especially when the State itself has been the aggressor.

Therefore, the interests of the States have been the main obstacle to the to fully enforce the protection commitment, however, the UN has effectively complemented it in a comprehensive manner with the Protocol for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. transitional justiceas well as through the United Nations Security Council The United Nations, for the purpose of prosecuting, arresting, trying, convicting and executing the perpetrators or promoters of genocide, has created International Criminal TribunalsOne of them is located in the city of Arusha in Tanzania, which has prosecuted more than 60 people responsible for the Rwandan genocide.

That is why in Alan Aldana & Abogados, our experts in International Humanitarian Law and International Criminal Law, constantly contribute with the mission of the duty to promote human rights and participate as advisors in transitional justice, in truth commissions, in order to enhance the historical memory to avoid repetition, seek the prosecution of those responsible and the reparation and attention to the victims.

Sources consulted