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The Responsibility to Protect: An Emerging Norm Applied to the Conflict of Syria
Växjö University, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Social Sciences.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]



In 2005 the United Nations (UN) unanimously agreed setting up a framework for the responsibility to protect (R2P) populations facing mass death and large scale atrocities consisting of three pillars. This responsibility was primarily for states to protect their own population (pillar 1). However, the second pillar of R2P mentions the responsibility for outside actors to engage protecting populations if their home government fails to ensure this protection. This study is about the emergence of R2P and why it has failed to protect the population in the ongoing Syrian intra-state war. Applied to the case of the Syrian conflict is Amitav Acharya’s (2013) model of norm circulation which will serve as the analytical framework for this research. Furthermore, the implementation of R2P is hampered when a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) decides to veto a resolution. This study suggests that when the UNSC is unable to act to protect populations at risk of mass death, a regional organization should have the authority to respond with necessary actions, even though that action would violate the sovereignty of the third state (see Williams et. al, 2012). As to date, the emerging norm of R2P still needs further diffusion in order to reach global acceptance. This research search to continue the development of the understanding of R2P and the emergence of global norms.


Keywords: R2P, Syria, emerging norms, the United Nations

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 39 p.
Keyword [en]
R2P, Syria, emerging norms, the United Nations
National Category
Other Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-53047OAI: diva2:933567
Subject / course
Peace and development
Educational program
International Social Sciences Programme, specialization Global Studies, 180 credits
Available from: 2016-06-07 Created: 2016-06-06 Last updated: 2016-06-07Bibliographically approved

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Knuters, Simon
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