The UN General Assembly held a plenary meeting on the “Responsibility to Protect (R2P) and the prevention of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity” on 25 June and 2 July 2018 as part of the formal agenda of its 72nd session. The debate constituted the first formal consideration of R2P by the General Assembly since 2009. One regional organization (European Union) and 79 member states made statements on behalf of 113 countries.
While the discussion demonstrated broad conceptual agreement on the principle of R2P, member states used the debate to reflect upon challenges and opportunities for mobilizing collective action to prevent genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing. At a time when more than 68 million people are displaced by conflict, war and persecution, member states expressed concern about the growing number of mass atrocity victims worldwide and about the weakening of all the international norms that safeguard humanity.
The following summary highlights the main themes of the discussion during this important debate.