University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies


"The Responsibility to Protect" The Hon. Lloyd Axworthy President of the University of Winnipeg

"The Responsibility to Protect" The Hon. Lloyd Axworthy President of the University of Winnipeg

Tuesday, November 22, 3:30 - 5:00 p.m.
Room 25, Law School, Mondale Hall, West Bank, University of Minnesota

Dr. Axworthy, a former Canadian Minister of External Affairs and Ambassador to the UN, served twice as President of the UN Security Council. He is know for his advocacy of an International Criminal Court, as a Champion of the "Responsibility to Protect" principle, and for his work on the abolition of land mines, for which he was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

The rights of States traditionally trumped the rights of people. But in 2005 the United Nations General Assembly unanimously approved a fundamentally new concept of what sovereignty meant, declaring that it not only gave States certain rights, but also entailed the responsibility of States to protect their own citizens.

Further, the new doctrine stipulated that when States failed to uphold this responsibility, the international community, acting through the UN, had not only a right, but an obligation, to act in the interest of endangered populations and could even use force to do so, though only as a last resort, when all other means of peaceful intervention had been exhausted.

Laudable though the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine appears, it must be admitted that the international resolve to apply it has been wanting on multiple occasions. Why this is so and what can be done about the problem will be addressed by Dr. Axworthy during the course of his presentation.

Sponsoring organizations: Minnesota Chapter, Citizens for Global Solutions; United Nations Association of Minnesota; Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers, Advocates for Human Rights; Canadian Consulate General, Minneapolis; Advocates for Human Rights; World Without Genocide at William Mitchell College of Law; the Minnesota International Center; and the following units of the University of Minnesota: Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Human Rights Center of the Law School, Human Rights Program of the College of Liberal Arts, Department of Political Science, Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, and the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change.