Where to Protect? Prioritization and the Responsibility to Protect

Luke Glanville, James Pattison

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Given the multiple threats of atrocities in the world at any given time, where should states direct their attention and resources? Despite the rich and extensive literature that has emerged on the responsibility to protect (RtoP), little thought has been given to the question of how states and other international actors should prioritize when faced with multiple situations of ongoing and potential atrocities. As part of the roundtable The Responsibility to Protect in a Changing World Order: Twenty Years since Its Inception, in this essay we first demonstrate the importance of questions of prioritization for RtoP. We then delineate some of the issues involved in assessing the issue of prioritization, beginning with what we call the basic maximization model, and introducing additional atrocity-specific and response-specific issues that also need to be considered. We also emphasize the importance of considering how the need to address mass atrocities should be weighed against other global responsibilities, such as those concerning global poverty, global health, and climate change. We thereby set an agenda for future discussions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)213-225
    JournalEthics and International Affairs
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


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