The “Responsibility While Protecting”: A Recent Twist in the Evolution of the “Responsibility to Protect”

  • Andreas S. KolbEmail author


The “responsibility to protect” (R2P) offers an opportunity to follow in real time the making of a new framework on human protection. Yet the current status of this process and its future prospects remain the subjects of debate. Its potential outcomes range from a mere consensus on abstract moral precepts via the establishment of political guidelines to the emergence of legally binding norms or a new interpretation of existing law. The evolution of R2P has been facilitated by what has been identified as “concerted norm entrepreneurship by a variety of actors.” In 2011, Brazil appeared as a new actor on this stage when it proposed the “responsibility while protecting” (RwP), a concept that had the potential both to foster and to undermine the existing consensus on R2P. The purpose of the present contribution is to assess the direction that the debate on R2P has taken following the RwP initiative and to indicate which impact it may have on international law, including international human rights law.


Security Council Humanitarian Intervention Military Intervention Coercive Measure North Atlantic Treaty Organization 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Global Governance InstituteBrusselsBelgium

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