Author profile: Ramesh Thakur

Ramesh Thakur, a former United Nations Assistant Secretary-General, is emeritus professor at the Australian National University. His most recent book is The United Nations, Peace and Security: From Collective Security to the Responsibility to Protect, 2nd ed. (Cambridge University Press, 2017).

No Longer Fit for Purpose: Syria and the International Normative Architecture

No Longer Fit for Purpose: Syria and the International Normative Architecture

The British-French-American attacks on Syria show the impotence of the UN in checking war crimes by Syria and preventing the illegal use of force by major powers.

Israel’s Serial Gaza Offensives Are Offensive

Israel’s Serial Gaza Offensives Are Offensive

Does the R2P apply in Gaza? This is a silly question – of course it does. R2P is a universal principle, not a light switch to be turned on and off at whim or convenience.

Syria and the Responsibility to Protect

Syria and the Responsibility to Protect

Syria has thrown up challenges, but not thrown out the R2P. There is an interest in clarifying the norm to prevent misuse but no demand to rescind the norm.

Syrians Are Paying the Price of NATO Excesses in Libya

Syrians Are Paying the Price of NATO Excesses in Libya

The China–Russia veto does not prove the irrelevance of the UN Security Council. Rather, it proves that the politics of the Security Council must be got right before an R2P military intervention; and the political equilibrium should be maintained during the operation.

R2P, Libya and International Politics as the Struggle for Competing Normative Architectures

R2P, Libya and International Politics as the Struggle for Competing Normative Architectures

The UN was neither designed nor expected to be a pacifist organisation. Its origins lie in the anti-Nazi wartime military alliance amongst Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union. The all-powerful UN Security Council is the world’s duly, and only, sworn in sheriff for enforcing international law and order.

Libya: The First Stand or the Last Post for the Responsibility to Protect?

Libya: The First Stand or the Last Post for the Responsibility to Protect?

When security forces, meant to protect people, are instead let loose in a killing spree, the state itself becomes the prime perpetrator of atrocities. With precisely such an unfolding scenario, Libya today is the place and time to redeem or renege on R2P’s solemn pledge.

Burma and the responsibility to protect: first, do more good than harm

Burma and the responsibility to protect: first, do more good than harm

Paranoid and mistrustful of the outside world, Burma’s generals were criminally tardy in permitting emergency humanitarian supplies and personnel to come into the country after a devastating cyclone in early May. Yet attempts to invoke R2P were ill advised.

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