Vol 2 No 1

Dear reader,

We are delighted to introduce both the third issue of the Responsibility to Protect Student Journal and a new partnership with STAND: The Student-Led Movement to End Mass Atrocities, a youth-managed advocacy organisation working on issues of genocide and mass atrocity prevention worldwide.

Collaborating with other student groups allows us to further our own mission and develop this space for youth to produce valuable work and contribute to essential conversations about responses to mass atrocities. Through this collaboration, the R2P Student Journal broadened its scope to include atrocity prevention and peacebuilding-themed contributions. With this partnership, we have enlarged the Journal’s audience and number of potential collaborators while enabling STAND and other like-minded advocacy organisations to inform their forthcoming policies and campaigns with accurate research.

We have received more contributions than ever before and chosen six excellent student essays on mass atrocity prevention and R2P to present in this issue, focussing on themes such as the US Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act, the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, R2P in Mali, Yemen, and the normative status of R2P.

We start this issue with a piece written by Dr Simon Adams, Director Executive of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, who makes the case for tackling international trade arms as one important aspect on the mass atrocity prevention agenda. History has taught us that there is a connection between the proliferation of small arms and the risk of mass atrocity crimes occurring; this is why practical initiatives that hinder perpetrators from accessing lethal weapons, such as the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), is so crucial in helping states act responsibly. However, as Adams reminds us, while the ATT may act as a force in the advancement of R2P, there is still some way to go while four of the five biggest exporters of arms in the world are mandated with the task of maintaining international peace and security as permanent members of the UN Security Council.

In her article on the proposed U.S. Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act, Francesca Freeman analyses the bill’s chance of being passed through Congress when it was introduced in early 2016. Encouraging activists to be mindful of what went wrong, she expresses hope for the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act, which is expected to be introduced in the Senate in mid-2017.

Katie Gabriel’s article analyses the short and long-term contributions of international assistance in Mali, where R2P Pillar II was invoked in 2012 to assist the Malian government during the crisis. While Gabriel identifies a wide range of action taken by international and regional actors, noting its success, she questions whether R2P should be addressing underlying issues, fearing that it stretches the principle too far beyond its original focus of responding to the four mass atrocity crimes.

In his article on the R2P in Africa, Luc Hinson analyses the normative progress of the principle, showing how the African Union is taking steps to internalise and implement it, while at the same time contesting some of its content. In this respect, he argues that this is a sign that R2P is developing normatively, and outlines the role of regional organisations in its progress in the decade to come.

Melly Hu’s article discusses the polysemous interpretation of the R2P principle, which ultimately gives way for states to exploit the doctrine to their best interest, as Saudi Arabia is doing with regards to Yemen – which links well with Nikita Sinclair analysis on R2P’s normative status.

In this issue we also welcome our first article on the Women Peace and Security Agenda, with an excellent contribution from Joshua Ellis, who argues that Resolution 1325 fails to adequately address the gendered dimensions of conflict on account of its narrow definitions of security and rape, its failure to address gendered dimensions of pre-conflict militarisation, and its enervating progress at generating equality for women during peace.

We hope you will find this issue interesting and may it inspire your own advocacy and work.

The Editorial Team

This issue was originally published under our previous title, the Responsibility to Protect Student Journal.