The responsibility to protect in the Asia-Pacific region
In 2005, governments around the world unanimously agreed to the principle of the responsibility to protect (R2P), which holds that all states have a responsibility to protect their populations from genocide and mass atrocities, that the international community should assist them to fulfil this duty, and that the international community should take timely and decisive measures to protect populations from such crimes when their host state fails to do so. Progressing R2P from words to deeds requires international consensus about the principle's meaning and scope. To achieve a global consensus on this, we need to better understand the position of governments around the world, including in the Asia-Pacific region, which has long been associated with an enduring commitment to a traditional concept of sovereignty.The present article contributes to such an endeavour through its three sections. The first part charts the nature of the international consensus on R2P and examines the UN secretary-general's approach. The second looks in detail at the positions of the Asia-Pacific region's governments on the R2P principle. The final part explores the way forward for progressing the R2P principle in the Asia-Pacific region.