The eighth report of the United Nations Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) provides a vision for collective action to accelerate implementation of R2P amid an impending leadership change at the UN. The report is a follow-up to the 2015 report, which took stock of progress in implementing R2P ten years after its unanimous endorsement by all UN member states at the 2005 World Summit. The report surveys the challenging global context of mass atrocity prevention in 2016, marked by an unprecedented number of people displaced by conflict and persecution and a worrying global trend of some member states shirking their responsibilities under international law.
The report assesses continued areas of debate surrounding R2P and provides recommendations on how member states and the UN system can best deliver on the collective commitment to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing. It is the last report on R2P by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who placed the advancement of R2P as a core priority of his tenure. The report was produced following inputs provided by member states, regional organizations and civil society.
The conclusion of the report urges member states to consolidate the consensus built since 2005 on the Responsibility to Protect. The Secretary-General specifically calls upon UN member states “to reaffirm and deepen their commitment through a new General Assembly resolution” on R2P, as well as the launching of a “vigorous and comprehensive global campaign” to reinforce the fundamental principles of international human rights and humanitarian law that underpin the global commitment to the principle. Finally, the report
concludes by reiterating the crucial point that the Responsibility to Protect is a political commitment made by member states. The principle does not possess independent agency and is dependent upon member states and their leaders for its implementation.
The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect’s summary of the report is available here: Summary of the Report of the UN Secretary-General: Mobilizing collective action: The next decade for the Responsibility to Protect.