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The Responsibility to Protect 
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With each new episode of genocide there are calls for never again.







"The starting point for the responsibility to protect is the simple but profound idea that states have a responsibility to protect their own civilians. This is not rocket science."
– Don Hubert, Professor of International Affairs at the University of Ottawa


It’s not rocket science to figure out that if a state is committing genocide then the international community should step in to stop the killing. Unfortunately, the world did more thinking than acting in the face of mass atrocities in places like Rwanda and Bosnia. In 2005 the UN finally agreed that if nations can’t protect their citizens from crimes against humanity, the international community must act to save lives. Like many things in the UN, the new idea looks good on paper, and just might help prevent future genocides, but as always, the challenge is to turn it into practice.


Deborah Amos investigates the application of R2P in Kenya following the 2008 post-election violence.


Maina Kiai, the former head of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights; Eston Mokono, a Party of National Unity (PNU) supporter; Meredith Preston-McGhie, Acting Director Africa, HD Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue; George Wachira, Director of the Nairobi Peace Initiative.


Sean Carberry explores the UN's peacekeeping efforts in the Democratic Republic of Congo and investigates what effect an application of R2P would have on the ongoing crisis there.


Charles Gurney, the US State Department¹s political officer in Eastern Congo; Kevin Kennedy, the director of the pubic information division of the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC); Ed Luck, the Special Representative to the UN Secretary General for Responsibility to Protect; David Ntengwe, an external relations officer for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in the DRC; Captain Tarun, an officer in India's 211 Battalion serving in the DRC.


Ray Suarez traces the evolution of R2P from the humanitarian failures of the 1990s to a consensus at the UN.


Don Hubert, Professor of International Affairs at the University of Ottawa.


Deborah Amos hosts a discussion on the effectiveness of R2P and its prospects for the future.


Gareth Evans, President of the International Crisis Group and Alan Kuperman, Professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.



/ Executive Producer: Aaron Lobel / AAM Producers: Monica Bushman, Sean D. Carberry, Matt Ozug, Monica Villavicencio and Chris Williams / Interns: Ann Thomas and Nadia Shairzay.

The Responsibility to Protect

The Responsibility to Protect

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Program Overview


Ray Suarez, Deborah Amos


51 minutes

The Holocaust, Rwanda, the Balkans, and now Darfur. After each atrocity the world says never again, and yet here we are, again.  But now the international community has a new idea—the Responsibility to Protect (R2P).  It’s the notion that each country is obligated to protect its citizens, and if that country can’t, then the international community must.  But is this new norm more than high-minded rhetoric? And does it violate the each country’s right to have control within its borders?  We’ll explore two situations in Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya to see what R2P looks like on the ground.  And we take a step back to see how the concept of R2P went from a fledgling idea to being endorsed by the UN general assembly. 


America Abroad

Serious radio for the intellectually curious, America Abroad explores today's critical issues with balance and depth. America Abroad is the only public radio program that devotes an hour to a single issue-providing historical context and international perspective. America Abroad:

· Airs on 225 NPR stations and in 145 countries on NPR Worldwide,

· Broadcasts on 9 of the top 10 and 21 of the top 25 domestic markets,

· Features renowned hosts Ray Suarez and Deborah Amos.

The mission of AAM is to harness the power of media to inform America and the world about the critical international issues of our time.

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