Relational R2P? Civilian-Led Prevention and Protection against Atrocity Crimes

Felicity Gray

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    The protection of civilians in the context of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) is often understood as a practice of ‘saving strangers’. In this article, I argue that such an understanding overlooks the ways that close relational webs can be used as a form of prevention of, and protection from, atrocity crimes. Through an examination of unarmed protection practices in the context of the civil war in South Sudan, I highlight how practices of unarmed, civilian-led protection – performed both by nongovernmental organisations (ngo s), and by communities themselves – hinge on the creation and sustaining of close relational webs. Rather than ‘saving strangers’, this ‘relational R2P’ hinges on familiarity as a means of protecting one’s friends, families, and neighbours. Through a lens of relational connectivity, fresh perspectives and opportunities for re-imagining ‘intervention’ in the face of atrocity crimes arise. The article explores potential opportunities, challenges, and limitations for the implementation of unarmed, civilian-based approaches in the context of atrocity crimes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)313-338
    JournalGlobal Responsibility to Protect
    Issue number2022
    Publication statusPublished - 2022

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