The Responsibility to Protect and the Protection of Refugees : Understanding the Linkages and Potential for CollaborationThe Responsibility to Protect and the Protection of Refugees : Understanding the Linkages and Potential for CollaborationAA11482816
During the past years, the world has witnessed massive inflows of refugees fleeing violence, conflict, and persecution. Owing to fear, these populations risk their lives only to confirm that the protection of their rights has turned into a highly politicized discussion. The international refugee protection regime has fallen short to cope with the current humanitarian crisis. These populations remain dependent on the benevolence of states to get their rights protected.The Responsibility to Protect (R2P), premised on the notion that populations at risk of mass atrocities should be protected, shows complementarity with the principles for the protection of refugees. Some of the grounds for convergence include the intellectual heritage of both regimes; they are both aimed at alleviating the suffering of vulnerable populations and provide them protection from danger. They are both conceived from the perspective of the groups at risk, therefore sharing populations of concern.Highlighting the links between refugee protection and R2P is important to bring clarity to the discussion about R2P and its implementation. Regardless of the efforts to decouple R2P with humanitarian intervention, habits die hard, and there is still suspicion about the real agenda of R2P. This distrust against R2P has impeded its implementation in cases where there is evidence of atrocity crimes and as a result massive forcible displacement. This is unfortunate considering the availability of peaceful and non-coercive tools available for states to fulfill their R2P responsibilities; hence a better understanding of these connections might contribute to the implementation of R2P commitments and better protection for refugees.