Dr Sharath Srinivasan (Director, Center of Governance and Human Rights, University of Cambridge)
Responsibility to Protect Utopianism
This presentation explores challenges for "Responsibility to Protect" utopianism that pins its hope of universal, impartial and effective operationalisation on a world free of state interests and parochial politics. It is divided into conceptual and empirical sections. The conceptual section locates deficiencies in the core operative principles of R2P in tensions between the history of humanitarian civilian protection on the one hand, and states' interests and reformist liberal interventionism on the other. The empirical section considers recent cases, especially Darfur, Sudan, and Libya, to focus attention upon how inescapable political maneuvering around R2P threatens humanitarian standards of civilian protection as well as cornerstones of a responsible but plural international society.
Dr Alan Keenan (Sri Lanka Project Director and Senior Analyst, International Crisis Group)
R2P and Post-war Accountability in Sri Lanka: the Dilemmas of Liberal International Rights-based Advocacy
This paper will examine the controversies and political dilemmas involved in efforts first, to apply the concept of the Responsibility to Protect to Sri Lanka in the final few years of its bloody civil war and second, to insist on legal and political accountability for the tens of thousands of civilians likely unlawfully killed in the final five months of combat in 2009. Both efforts have generated strong nationalist resistance within Sri Lanka and major obstacles at the international level - both featuring strong assertions of sovereignty and criticisms of western "double-standards". As a result, both efforts have failed to find effective domestic or international traction - though the jury is still out on the accountability project. This paper will analyse the complex political dynamics of both moments in the longer history of the politics of human rights and peaebuilding in Sri Lanka. It will also, more tentatively, explore whether international human rights advocacy and activism in specific cases of atrocity and conflict might ultimately be more effective if linked explicitly to an agenda and movement for the radical transformation of the global system.
Open to all. No registration required.
Part of Between Civilisation and Militarisation Group, series.
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