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The Responsibility to Protect: Ending Mass Atrocity Crimes Once and For All First Edition Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0815725046
ISBN-10: 0815725043
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Editorial Reviews


"Evans cuts a fascinating figure on the world stage. Always informed, sometimes alarming, never dull, he has a diplomat's ability to listen and reflect, and a politician's will to dominate a room. He is also an able and prolific writer." —Scott Malcomson, New York Times Book Review

"Much of the book is an elaboration of the tools and strategies that are available to intervening states before, during, and after crises break out. The debate on when and how the world should act in humanitarian crises will continue-and this inspired manifesto will be its essential guidebook." —G. John Ikenberry, Foreign Affairs

"An account of the emergence of a new international norm--the responsibility to protect--by the person who has done more to develop it than any." —Allan Gyngell, International Studies

"No one is better suited than Gareth Evans to describe this revolution of opinion and trace its consequences." —Douglas Hurd, Survival

"The Responsibility to Protect is the most important and imaginative doctrine to emerge on the international scene for decades. No one is better placed than Gareth Evans to lead the debate about its scope and application to contemporary crises, such as Darfur, Myanmar, and Zimbabwe. And no one could have done it better than in this comprehensive and sophisticated book." —Louise Arbour, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, 2004–08, and chief prosecutor, Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda Tribunals, 1996–99

"We have been shamed so often by our failure to protect the victims of mass atrocity crimes. Gareth Evans's book is a passionate, lucidly argued, and immensely well-informed guide to how the world can do better." —Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town

"A tour de force.... Gareth Evans, more than anyone, has persuaded leaders to accept their responsibility to protect the vulnerable, and convinced us that we can no longer be passive bystanders." —Jan Egeland, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, 2003–06

"Gareth Evans, one of the principal creators of the Responsibility to Protect, has written the first major work on this noble, important, and elusive concept. Anyone interested in international affairs should read this book on what is certain to be a continuing debate." —Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations,1999–2001

"We can no longer ignore atrocities beamed into our living rooms. Our conscience demands that we react whenever people suffer, from Rwanda to Srebrenica, from Darfur to Gaza. This volume could not be more timely or relevant." —Kishore Mahbubani, Dean, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Singapore, and author of The New Asian Hemisphere

"I strongly endorse Gareth Evans's eloquent argument. This call to prevent terrible crimes against humanity like those I witnessed in Rwanda is one we must answer." —General Romeo Dallaire, author of Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda

About the Author

Gareth Evans has been president and CEO of the International Crisis Group since 2000 and was foreign minister of Australia from 1988 to1996. Co-chair of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (2000–01), which initiated the Responsibility to Protect concept, he has since led the movement for its worldwide adoption and application. Evans has served on many other global bodies including the UN Secretary-General's High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change (2003–04) and the UN Secretary-General's Advisory Committee on the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities (2006–present), and was named in 2008 to co-chair the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament. His numerous publications include eight other books and a prizewinning Foreign Policy article on cooperative security. Mail & Guardian (South Africa)


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 349 pages
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press; First Edition edition (September 10, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0815725043
  • ISBN-13: 978-0815725046
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,312,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Review of Gareth Evans' book The Responsibility to Protect

This clearly written book is a must-read if you believe in our common humanity and are interested in human rights and international affairs. The author takes the reader on a journey to the cutting edge of contemporary human-rights thinking and into the evolution of a new concept that, if realized, will save countless lives by preventing or ending mass atrocity crimes.

He lays out the case why governments share in a Responsibility to Protect (R2P), and how they all came to accept it - at least in principle - during the 2005 United Nations World Summit. This accomplishment is nothing short of miraculous given the relatively brief period of incubation during which the concept matured and managed to gain acceptance. It is all the more astounding since it adds an interpretation to the notion of national sovereignty, the most sacred of sacred cows behind which governments like to hide in order to shield themselves from accountability for actions and inaction alike.

In the past, turning a blind eye in the event of impending or ongoing mass atrocities seemed to be the default answer of the international community more often than not. This attitude was based, among other things, on a not so tacit consensus that sovereignty ultimately always trumps humanity. Now, however, by affirming their agreement with this new concept, the international community seems to be accepting that this solemn responsibility shifts from the national to the international plane in the event of a government's incapacity or unwillingness to meet its inherent responsibility to protect its own citizens.

The book is more than just the inside story, fascinating as it is, of how this all came about.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mass atrocity crimes have been part of human history for many, many years. After the experiences of the Second World War, the world had vowed never again. Unfortunately despite that pledge, it was not able to live up to it, with various mass atrocity crimes occurring around the world until just recently. Mass atrocity crimes such as the Rwandan genocide have shaken the world into action. One of the main blockages to intervention has been the uncertainty due to the notion of state sovereignty.

After the various experiences of mass atrocity crimes in recent times, the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, made this matter an issue at the 2000 Millenium meeting of the UN General Assembly. The cause has gained momentum since then.

Former Australian Foreign Minister and recently retired Chairman of the International Crisis Group, Gareth Evans, has also taken up the cause of the question of the responsibility to protect, or R2P as it is commonly known.

This book examines R2P in the context of intervening when the rule of law collapses and innocent people are left to the mercies of various factions and non-state armed actors; some of whom become extremely violent and hostile to various ethnic groups. The book also contains many personal glimpses at various key players in R2P, experiences in dealing with the steadfast determination of those people to see that something positive would emerge from these initiatives and the need to intervene in another state's sovereign territory in order to protect the innocent.

An extremely well written and researched book, which contains a great deal of background information on the subject and various leading personalities who worked to overcome what was sometimes perceived as something too hard.
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Format: Paperback
Gareth Evans makes a gallant and generally successful effort to convince his readers that mass atrocities, genocide or ethnic cleansing can be stopped by intervention into and against the countries where they are happening or about to happen. While I disagree with many of his conclusions there is no question that he is sincere in thinking that crimes against humanity can be stopped or kept from starting and his commitment to bringing the story to the world must be applauded. He has long experience: foreign minister of Australia, high level UN official, CEO of the International Crisis Group. Evans thinks the nations of the world can act in concert when faced with mass slaughter and that they have already created the framework to do so, lacking only the political will and ability to see beyond their own narrow interests.

His--and everyone's--example is the Rwandan genocide of 1994, the unfortunate signature event in the history of humanitarian crises since the end of World War II. Every nation and international body that didn't intervene had their reasons although none of the reasons stand up against the fact of the massacre of 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu men, women and children during a three month rampage of blood lust. The United Nations had international troops already on the scene--and they were reporting to Kofi Annan, later Secretary General, at that time in charge of peacekeeping operations. The United States abdicated its role at the world's sole superpower--the memory of the disastrous mission to Somalia was too fresh in the minds of Bill Clinton and his advisers. Belgium, the former colonial power, turned its back on Rwanda.
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