Responsibility to Protect

Therefore, the power of the international community has proved impotent while thousands suffer. In September of 2005, the world leaders assembled at the U.N. The largest such gathering of heads of state in history produced the ‘responsibility to protect’ document in which 150 signatures were attached. The nations of the world agreed "to take collective action, in a timely and decisive manner, through the Security Council, in accordance with the UN Charter ‘ on a case by case basis and in cooperation with relevant organizations as appropriate, should peaceful means be inadequate" (Rasul, 2005). Since the end of World War II and the Nazi’s implementation of the ‘final solution,’ the phrase, ‘never again’ has echoed throughout the world, but genocide has occurred over and over again. The responsibility to protect is an agreement late in coming. It has not curbed the violence in Darfur and its complex implications have not existed without continued debate and controversy. The U.S., in concert with all nations of the U.N., is compelled by reasons of human compassion to protect any group from genocide. We are our brother’s keeper. We all have the responsibility to protect and support the people of Darfur.
The ‘Responsibility to Protect’ provides that a country cannot refuse assistance or support from other countries when it cannot or will not safeguard its citizens from genocide or other actions deemed as a crime against humanity. All nations’ sovereignty is respected as is their ability to conduct their own affairs but this is a qualified condition, not one that is considered absolute. "When peaceful means are exhausted and leaders of a UN member state are ‘manifestly failing to protect their populations,’ then other states have the responsibility to take collective action through the Security Council" (O’Neill, 2006). In some respects, the concept of "Responsibility to Protect" was founded in the common concern for human rights worldwide, the concept that initiated the formation of the U.N. The Genocide Treaty (1948) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) are manifestations of the U.N.’s founding principles. In the 1960’s, the international human rights covenants furthered this philosophical stance of the U.N. However, these treaties, covenants and resolutions were not effectively enforced. Affected countries argued that their right to national sovereignty superseded the intentions of uninvited intrusion.
For many years, the U.N. and others have debated the subject of humanitarian intervention issue regarding the question of when the nations of the world should unite to take military action against a country so as to protect that country’s population. Supporters of ‘the responsibility to protect’ and ‘humanitarian intervention’ concepts include liberal-minded persons worldwide who encourage the use of military forces to come to the aid of desperate people (International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, 2001). However, the questions surrounding the use of force has been of great concern to many especially following the recent ‘humanitarian’ efforts