pacific forum History of Pacific Forum

PacNet #56 – Asia and the Responsibility to Protect: What Now?

Most Asian states have chosen to bypass the debate on the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP), claiming that any discussion of the concept could undermine established notions of national sovereignty. This debate, though, can no longer simply be brushed aside by regional actors. No matter what one may think of the situation in Libya, it opens a complex debate about responses to imminent atrocities, divisions of labor in the context of such responses, and, perhaps most crucially, the way in which norms of intervention and responsibility will evolve. This debate should not proceed without Asia.