Implementing the Responsibility to Protect, 2009

12 January 2009

The first report of the UN Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect is focused on operationalizing the responsibility to protect and its three pillars:

  1. Pillar One: The protection responsibilities of the State (sect. II)
  2. Pillar Two: International assistance and capacity-building (sect. III)
  3. Pillar Three: Timely and decisive response (sect. IV)

The report also underscores that “the best way to discourage States or groups of States from misusing the responsibility to protect for inappropriate purposes would be to develop fully [a] United Nations strategy, standards, processes, tools and practices for the responsibility to protect.” The strategy stresses the value of prevention and, when it fails, of early and flexible response tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. There is no set sequence to be followed from one pillar to another, nor is it assumed that one is more important than another. Like any other edifice, the structure of the responsibility to protect relies on the equal size, strength and viability of each of its supporting pillars. The report also provides examples of policies and practices that are contributing, or could contribute, to the advancement of goals relating to the responsibility to protect under each of the pillars.

United Nations Secretary-General


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