A new report from the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC) proposes an international doctrine called the "Right to Assist," which would strengthen external support for nonviolent civil resistance campaigns demanding rights, freedom, and justice against nondemocratic rule. Drawing from social science research and insights from practitioners, Right to Assist argues that support for nonviolent civil resistance can help avert atrocities and civil war, as well as increase the prospect for long-term democratic stability.

On October 16, USIP held a discussion on the Right to Assist doctrine with ICNC President Hardy Merriman, co-author of the report, and other civil resistance experts. The event looked at how Right to Assist could be implemented, as well as how increased external support might be viewed from the perspectives of efficacy, international law, practical concerns, and possible unintended consequences. Continue the conversation on Twitter with #PeoplePower4Peace.


Quscondy Abdulshafi
Research Consultant, Dexis Consulting Group-OTI/USAID

Ariela Blätter
Program Officer, Atrocities Prevention and Response, Wellspring Philanthropic Fund

Alejandra Espinoza
Executive Director, Voices of Nicaragua

Nancy Lindborg
President & CEO, U.S. Institute of Peace 

Hardy Merriman
President, ICNC

Maria Stephan
Director, Program on Nonviolent Action, U.S. Institute of Peace  

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