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date: 15 November 2018

Abstract and Keywords

The concept of the responsibility to protect (R2P) has been criticized by some scholars on the grounds that it is incompatible with the principle of sovereignty. This chapter examines sovereignty and its relationship to R2P. It contrasts static and ahistorical descriptions of sovereignty with interpretations that more usefully emphasize sovereignty’s historically contingent and contested nature and it shows how sovereignty has been constructed at various times in its history to entail not only rights but responsibilities, including responsibilities for the protection of the population. It then considers the implications of this historically informed account of sovereignty for the understanding and practice of R2P today.

Keywords: accountability, intervention, non-intervention, responsibility to protect, sovereignty

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