Responsibility While Protecting: The Wrong Frame? / by Simmon Li

The development of the so-called "responsibility while protecting" (RwP) doctrine seems to be potentially troubling. Of course, the notion that it is espousing is desirable and good: the international community ought to be aware of the "do no harm" principle in its intervention actions. However, the frame of the doctrine itself remains potentially problematic. Firstly, it seems to frame the R2P doctrine on problematic "right to intervention" grounds and shifts R2P discourse to a focus on operational protection which implies, wrongly or rightly, military deployments. This relates uncomfortably to the question of R2P and sovereignty that is a perennial point of contention in the continuing settlement of the R2P norm. Secondly, it further entrenches securitization of R2P and undermines or obscures the potential for effective prevention.