R2P’s 15th Anniversary

R2P’s 15th Anniversary

Fifteen years ago the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity was unanimously adopted at the 2005 United Nations World Summit, the largest gathering of Heads of State and Government in history.

The 15th anniversary year presents the international community with a significant opportunity to deepen global commitment to the Responsibility to Protect. By using the 15th anniversary as a moment to assess ongoing efforts to prevent atrocity crimes and to set an ambitious vision grounded in practical steps, the international community can ensure the consistent implementation of R2P in the years ahead. This year is also a moment to intensify collective efforts to protect civilians from mass atrocity crimes, to hold accountable perpetrators of past crimes, and to prevent risks from escalating wherever and whenever we witness rising hate speech, xenophobia and systematic violations of human rights.

On the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the adoption of R2P, the Global Centre is calling upon all UN member states to embrace the following five policy actions this year:

There have been many positive developments since the global commitment to R2P was originally forged, however much work remains to be done to translate this principle into consistent practice. The 15th anniversary is a historic opportunity to make the promise of R2P a reality, and the Global Centre is committed to achieving this objective.


Reflections on R2P at 15


R2P 15 Events

  •  A conversation with the UN Special Advisers on the Responsibility to Protect, 1 June 2020

To mark the 15th Anniversary of R2P and to reflect upon the norm’s past, present and future, the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect held an interactive conversation on 1 June with all former and current UN Special Advisers on R2P.

View a full recording of the event below:


  • Mass Atrocities & International Justice: An Effective Deterrent?, 16 July 2020

On 17 July the international community commemorates the World Day for International Justice. In honor of this commemoration and the 15th anniversary of the Responsibility to Protect, the Global Centre brought together world-renowned international experts and practitioners to reflect upon the role of the international justice system in atrocity prevention.

View a full recording of the event below:


  • Ministerial Meeting on the Responsibility to Protect: Building Back Better, 24 September 2020

On the sidelines of the opening of the 75th UN General Assembly, the Global Centre, together with the governments of Costa Rica, Denmark and Qatar, hosted a Ministerial side-event. The virtual event offered Member States the unique opportunity to reaffirm the global commitment to protect vulnerable populations, to take stock of past efforts and best practices with regard to the prevention of atrocities, and to devise effective strategies for ‘Building Back Better’ after the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the meeting the UN Secretary-General delivered a speech on R2P at 15:

Full meeting details and a video recording are available on our event page.

  • Panel Discussion: Preventing Atrocities with a WPS Perspective: A Myanmar Case Study, 11 November 2020

On the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the adoption of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), as well as the 20th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, the UN Secretary-General’s annual report on R2P analyzed where issues related to gender and R2P overlap, from identifying risk factors for atrocity crimes to the prevention and response to such crimes.  To commemorate these two anniversaries and highlight the value of a gendered lens in atrocity prevention, the Global Centre and the Global Justice Center co-hosted this event.

View a full recording of the event below:

  • Panel Discussion: UN response to atrocities: A conversation with Ambassador Gert Rosenthal and Mr. Charles Petrie, 19 November 2020

Since it was established 75 years ago, the United Nations has had a mixed record in terms of its capacity to prevent atrocities and protect populations from conscience shocking crimes. During 2009, as the war in Sri Lanka was coming to a close, government forces and rebels of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam perpetrated war crimes and crimes against humanity. A UN internal review panel, headed by Charles Petrie, determined that the UN had systematically failed to protect populations from the crimes. Nearly a decade later, Ambassador Gert Rosenthal conducted a similar review of the UN’s presence in Myanmar during the so-called “clearance operations” in Rakhine State and the years leading up to the genocide of the Rohingya. On 19 November the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect brought together these two renowned UN experts to discuss their seminal reports on Sri Lanka and Myanmar, and lessons learned regarding UN responses to situations where populations are facing the threat of atrocity crimes.

View a full recording of the event below:

  • Panel Discussion: R2P at 15 – Europe’s Responsibility to Protect, 2 December 2020

On 2 Decmeber the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect and Protection Approaches convened a virtual discussion on fifteen years of R2P and the European context. The discussion featured remarks by UN Special Adviser on R2P, Karen Smith, the co-Executive Director of Protection Approaches, Kate Ferguson and the Global Centre’s Deputy Executive Director, Savita Pawnday. The panelists discussed an array of issues, including what lessons Europe can learn from 15 years of R2P and atrocity prevention, how European can states integrate the principle of R2P into national, domestic and foreign policies, and what Europe should be aiming to do over the next 15 years.

View a full recording of the event below:


Sign up for our newsletter and stay up to date on R2P news and alerts

Follow us on social media


Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect

Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies
The Graduate Center, CUNY
365 Fifth Avenue, Suite 5203
New York, NY 10016-4309, USA

Phone: +1 212-817-1929 | info@globalr2p.org
R2P Resources & Statements