On Thursday, October 21st, Prof. the Hon. Gareth Evans visited HCSS for a Hague Strategic Council meeting on the subject “Conflict Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect”.
During the meeting, Professor Evans reflected on his pioneering work on the concept of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) and his contributions towards conflict prevention. R2P is not about the “right” of states to act coercively against others to stop mass atrocities; R2P is about the “responsibility” of states to act to protect their own people, and to assist other states to do so. Since its inception in 2005, the R2P concept has been invoked many times. Although discussion about the meaning of the concept and its applicability remain, there has nonetheless been a growing support for R2P by nations worldwide. In light of the growing interest of the Dutch Ministry of Defence in Prevention (identified as one of its key strategic functions in the Future Policy Survey, Project Verkenningen), the discussion focused specifically on the evolving role of the military actors in preventive action. Although the R2P concept allows for coercive action only in the most extreme and exceptional circumstances, there are many areas where Defence can contribute to the prevention of conflict, for instance through monitoring missions, no-fly zones, security sector reform and arms control.
Prof. the Hon. Gareth Evans AO QC is one of Australia’s most distinguished politicians. A parliamentarian for 21 years, he was also one of Australia’s longest serving Foreign Ministers. He is President Emeritus of the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, the independent global conflict prevention and resolution organization of which he was President and Chief Executive Officer from January 2000 to June 2009. Professor Evans is currently a member of the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Committee on Genocide and Co-Chair of the International Advisory Board of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect.