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Excerpt from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Human Rights and democracy 2011 Report. 1

At the UN 2005 World Summit, governments recognised that each state has a “responsibility to protect” (R2P) their own population from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.  They declared that the international community should encourage and help states to fulfil this responsibility, and would be prepared to take action if a state failed to do so. The British Government is committed to implementing R2P. 

In 2011, the Government’s objectives were to help build a shared understanding of the concept within the international community; to continue to work to encourage and help states to build capacity to exercise their responsibility; to improve our early-warning systems to enhance our ability to spot potential conflicts; and to ensure that agreement on R2P is translated into a willingness to act speedily and appropriately in specific cases. In June, Britain participated in the annual UN General Assembly interactive dialogue on R2P. 

The Government joined the majority of member states in reaffirming our support for R2P and acknowledged the key role of regional organisations in supporting the international community’s efforts to prevent or halt mass atrocities, for example by identifying warning signs and taking appropriate action in their neighbourhood. The Government participated in a number of other international meetings and seminars on R2P, including a ministerial meeting organised by the NGO Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, which was attended by UN Secretary-General Ban Kimoon. Britain supported increased funding in 2012 of the Joint Office of the UN Secretary General’s Special Advisers for Genocide and Responsibility to Protect.


[1] Human Rights and Democracy, The 2011 Foreign and Commonwealth Office Report presented to Parliament in April 2012 by The Rt Hon William Hague, the Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Responsibility to protect pp. 97-99.