The Responsibility to Protect
After the humanitarian failures of the 1990s, the issue of "humanitarian intervention" nourished most of the debates of that decade. With the beginning of the 21st century, this topic has been reformulated into the concept of "the responsibility to protect", thus shifting the debate from the viewpoint of the interveners to that of the people in peril. The responsibility to protect is a new and controversial issue in many intellectual and political spheres. While some believe that the use of military force as a last resort should not be avoided when it can alleviate or stop large-scale human rights violations, others hold that any military intervention, even for humanitarian purposes, can only lead to a worsening of the situation. In April 2005, the World Council of Churches' Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA) organized a high-level seminar aimed at advising the World Council of Churches on this issue both from a theological and ethical stand, as well as from political perspectives. This publication is a compilation of the papers presented by the participants, together with some background documentation. It is hoped that this publication will be used as a basis for consultation and action by a wide range of actors, including churches, church-related groups, theologians, politicians, diplomats, academic researchers, inter-faith dialogue actors, etc.
Publication Date: 12/1/2005