In this report, former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and the late Ambassador Richard S. Williamson identify concrete steps to increase U.S. capacity in preventing mass atrocities.

As chairs of the Working Group on the Responsibility to Protect, they examine the utility of the R2P principle for the prevention of mass violence. The Working Group is co-hosted by the U.S. Institute of Peace, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the Brookings Institution.

Summary

  • Implementing R2P faces political, institutional, and operational challenges. Expanding the set of tools for policymakers, supporting justice and accountability mechanisms, and narrowing the gap between warning and responses remain operational challenges to be met. Evolving U.S. and global institutions present new but uncertain opportunities for addressing mass atrocities.
  • The Responsibility to Protect places primary emphasis on preventing mass atrocities before they begin. Acting before violence erupts or escalates allows for a wider array of tools and reduces both the financial and human costs of intervention, whatever form it takes.
  • This report recommends a number of steps be taken to strengthen R2P: articulating a clear vision of U.S. support for all pillars of R2P, diplomatically engaging key like-minded states, pursuing a policy of positive engagement with the International Criminal Court (ICC), continuing to institutionalize steps to prevent atrocities, and developing additional uses for modern technologies to advance R2P objectives.

These recommendations provide a roadmap for the U.S. to enhance its global leadership on atrocity prevention and for the international community to advance its collective capacity to fulfill its obligations under the responsibility to protect.

Related Publications

Climate Change, Migration and the Risk of Conflict in Growing Urban Centers

Climate Change, Migration and the Risk of Conflict in Growing Urban Centers

Monday, June 27, 2022

By: Tegan Blaine, Ph.D.;  Julia Canney;  Chris Collins;  Jessica Kline;  Rachel Locke

From 2015 to 2050, the world’s urban population is expected to nearly double, in part because migrants from rural areas devastated by climate change are being driven to cities in search of economic and social stability. However, many of the world’s fastest-growing cities are already struggling to handle their own climate issues. From rising seas to freshwater scarcity, the complex interplay of climate change, population growth and fragility in cities has made them hotbeds for social and economic inequalities — increasing the risk of violence and having a profound impact on human security in urban centers around the world.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

EnvironmentConflict Analysis & Prevention

What’s Next for Libya’s Protracted Conflict?

What’s Next for Libya’s Protracted Conflict?

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

By: Thomas M. Hill

This week in Cairo, the United Nations will host the final round of scheduled talks between representatives from Libya’s two opposing governments: the House of Representatives (HoR) based in the eastern city of Tobruk and the High Council of State (HCS) based in the western city of Tripoli. The talks which began in April are intended to yield a “solid constitutional basis and electoral framework” for ending the country’s longstanding political stalemate.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & PreventionPeace Processes

Our Next ‘Unthinkable’ Crisis: Nuclear War in Asia?

Our Next ‘Unthinkable’ Crisis: Nuclear War in Asia?

Thursday, May 19, 2022

By: James Rupert

Our world’s spate of disasters so recently unimaginable — European cities pulverized by war, Earth’s decaying climate or 6 million dead from pandemic disease — evokes a national security question: What other “unthinkable” crises must American citizens and policymakers anticipate? A singular threat is warfare around our planet’s one spot where three nuclear-armed states stubbornly contest long-unresolved border conflicts. Largely unnoted in national security news coverage, the conflicts embroiling China, India and Pakistan are growing more complex and dangerous. A USIP study shows the urgency for U.S. policymakers of working to reduce the risks.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global PolicyConflict Analysis & Prevention

View All Publications