Localizing the Responsibility to Protect in Civil Society: Paving the Road to Norm Degeneration?

Gilgan, Chloe (2021) Localizing the Responsibility to Protect in Civil Society: Paving the Road to Norm Degeneration? Journal of Human Rights Practice, 13 (2). pp. 291-316. ISSN 1757-9627

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1093/jhuman/huab015

Full text not available from this repository.

Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive


The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) is the relevant framework for state responses to mass atrocities, which are ongoing in Syria. This article examines how that framework has been localized by civil society and the effects of that localization. Using an empirical case study of the UK’s responses to Syrian refugees during 2014–16, the research demonstrates how state practice of a norm can affect civil society advocacy, which may have a deleterious effect on a norm’s life cycle. The research also revealed that civil society is resisting a link between R2P and refugee protection in practice, despite states’ international commitments to both and despite how both overlap in some cases. Two conclusions are reached. First, the research found a complex, iterative relationship between states and civil society. How the UK has understood and practiced R2P has directly affected how civil society contests and modifies R2P in response, despite the norm’s relevance to the Syrian case. Rather than using advocacy and engagement with states to reconceptualize the norm to fit its broader remit, some civil society actors have rejected or modified the norm instead. This has effectively helped entrap R2P within a narrow understanding and has made it politically expedient to show support for the norm’s aspirations implicitly rather than explicitly in the organizational discourse. Second, based on the results of this interdependent relationship, the political resistance against R2P is further entrenched, even when based upon the state’s narrow understandings, which serve to marginalize the norm.

Keywords:R2P, Civil society, UK, Advocacy, Syria, refugees
Subjects:M Law > M290 Law by topic not elsewhere classified
Divisions:College of Social Science > Lincoln Law School
ID Code:42378
Deposited On:06 Sep 2022 12:20

Repository Staff Only: item control page