R2P @10: What Lessons for South Africa and Africa?
150 World states endorsed the principle of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) at the 2005 World Summit. 2015 marks ten years since this occasion. Paragraphs 138 and 139 of the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document noted that ‘each individual State has the responsibility to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity,’ . In the view of this responsibility, the international community was ‘prepared to take collective action, in a timely and decisive manner.’ The concept of ‘R2P’ emerged from the 2001 Report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) which sought to provide a consensus-driven alternative to humanitarian intervention whilst incorporating the notion of sovereignty as responsibility. R2P is not novel to the African continent given that prominent statesmen and scholars have played crucial roles in its cascade and broad universal acceptance. South Africa has embraced the concept as a key component of the wider continental goal of a Pax Africana and engagement on the issue can be derived from policy statements particularly at the regional and multilateral levels. This policy brief examines the status of South Africa’s position on a decade-old R2P and puts forward recommendations on how the emerging norm can attain more traction in the country’s public debate arenas.