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Andrew Garwood-Gowers QUT Human Rights and Governance Colloquium 24-25 November 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Andrew Garwood-Gowers QUT Human Rights and Governance Colloquium 24-25 November 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Andrew Garwood-Gowers QUT Human Rights and Governance Colloquium 24-25 November 2011

2  R2P and its evolution  China’s relationship with R2P prior to Libya  R2P and the Libyan intervention  China’s engagement with R2P in Libya  R2P post-Libya: Syria/Yemen  Implications of the Libyan intervention: - a new phase in China’s relationship with R2P? - consolidation or weakening of R2P’s normative status? 2

3  Developed following incidents in Rwanda, Srebrenica, Kosovo in 1990s  Reconceptualises state sovereignty as “responsibility” rather than “authority”  Original concept: 2001 International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) report  Modified version unanimously endorsed – 2005 World Summit Outcome Document  Current form: 2009 UN Secretary-General’s report (Implementing the Responsibility to Protect) 3

4  A political/moral commitment to implementing existing principles of international law – limited to 4 mass atrocity crimes  Pillar one: the protection responsibilities of the state  Pillar two: international assistance and state capacity-building  Pillar three: timely and decisive response by other states if state is “manifestly failing” - military intervention only if authorised by the Security Council 4

5  R2P challenges China’s traditional rigid interpretation of state sovereignty and non- intervention  Features of China’s relationship with R2P: 1. Initial criticism of R2P in 2001 2. Subsequent cautious support for a conservative interpretation of R2P 3. Emphasis on prevention and state capacity-building (pillars 1 & 2) 4. Ongoing concerns over non-consensual military intervention (pillar 3) 5

6  Libya = first Security Council (SC) authorisation of use of force for civilian protection purposes against wishes of “host” state  R2P framed international community’s response to violence against civilians: 1. SC Res 1970 (unanimous) 2. SC 1973 (10 votes for, 5 abstentions): - “all necessary measures to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack” – established a no-fly zone - “excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory” 6

7  Abstention on Res 1973 = a softening of Chinese attitudes to R2P and intervention?  Libya as a “perfect storm” for R2P 1. clear, urgent threat of violence 2. Gaddafi’s international isolation 3. regional consensus on need for intervention  But China still had “serious difficulty with parts of the resolution”  China (and other BRIC states) critical of scope of NATO’s military action: - accused Western powers of exceeding Res 1973’s mandate for force - perception R2P was used as a pretext for “regime change” 7

8  “Libya has given R2P a bad name”: Indian ambassador to the UN  BRIC states view NATO action in Libya as confirmation of their longstanding concerns over R2P’s potential for misuse/abuse  Political backlash against R2P has prevented consensus on decisive civilian protection action in Syria/Yemen: - 4 October 2011: China, Russia vetoed draft resolution on Syria - 21 October 2011: SC Res 2014 on Yemen 8

9  A third phase in the relationship = hardened Chinese resistance to R2P?  Signs of a renewed strategy of containing R2P’s development: - “various parties still hold divergent views on the responsibility to protect” - “the General Assembly should continue its discussion on this matter”  China is supported by other BRIC states in opposing further implementation of R2P 9

10  Consolidation or weakening of R2P’s normative status?  Libya as a unique case – not a fundamental shift towards agreement on R2P’s military dimension  R2P faces significant challenges: 1. political fall-out from divisions over Libya – need to develop criteria for SC decision-making 2. drafting/interpretation of SC resolutions authorising use of force 3. conceptual and operational issues: civilian protection vs. “regime change”  In short/medium term further operationalisation of R2P’s military dimension appears unlikely 10

11  Libyan intervention = product of an unusual confluence of political factors (not a fundamental normative shift towards agreement on R2P)  Significant divisions between Western states and China (plus other BRIC states) over R2P may hinder civilian protection  Libya as a case of “one step forward, two steps back” for R2P’s military dimension? 11

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