A Shared Responsibility to Protect?


Our collective failure to protect vulnerable populations from mass atrocity crimes – from genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes, and crimes against humanity – is what keeps Professor Toni Erskine awake at night.

In this 1 Dec. 2016 talk from UNSW's UNsomnia series, Professsor Erskine discusses the problem the international community was forced to face after more than 8,000 Muslim Bosniaks were massacred in July 1995 during the Bosnian War in an area declared a ‘safe area’ under UN protection. Only a year earlier we had been confronted with genocide in Rwanda, where more than 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were massacred, over a period of 100 days, ‘while the members of the UN deliberated, and debated, and dithered and failed to act until it was too late’. Both genocides, she notes, sparked guilt and regret, numerous apologies, and a chorus of ‘never again’. With Aleppo under siege in Syria, Professor Erskine introduces the idea of a ‘coalition of the obligated’ - but she does so with hesitation.  

View the talk here.