Members of the Lords, including a former UK ambassador to the UN and a senior lecturer in International Relations, debated the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ and the application of this international norm by the UK and the UN, on Thursday 16 July.
Members discussed the three pillars or stages to the responsibility to protect. The first stage they identified is the primacy of the state in protecting its own people, and the second the responsibility of the international community to support states in protecting their own people. The third is the responsibility of the international community to intervene to protect citizens, if their states fail in their responsibility to protect them.
Peers asked how states could be helped to fulfil the ‘responsibility to protect’ their own populations, and how strong, independent institutions could be developed to protect people inside their own countries. Members also discussed ways in which conflict can be anticipated and avoided, and how the UK can use its soft power influence throughout the world.