From a Militarized to a Humanized Responsibility to Protect

June 2013
Ziggy Vandebriel
table of contents

In recent years the frequency and intensity of natural and environmental catastrophes has risen sharply and is expected to continue to worsen over time due to global climate change. Accordingly our world now faces increasingly significant losses of lives, livelihoods, and cultural and natural heritage due to these disasters. The Global Governance Institute feels that it is incumbent upon world governments and the international community to design and implement efficient and effective frameworks to address these issues, and with this paper, we suggest that the international Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) framework serve as a starting point. In this paper, we explore how previous attempts to incorporate natural disasters could potentially be overcome by demilitarizing the RtoP response to natural disasters through the use of an expanded and empowered International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The IFRC is a neutral and experienced non-military, humanitarian organization, and as such, would address concerned UN Member States’ unease over outside interventions on their territory. The paper also serves as a call to begin a discussion within and between the climate change and peace and security communities on both the increasingly important topic of disaster relief, as well as on shifting the discourse on security away from the reactionary politics of military-based security and towards action aimed at the root causes of much violent conflict, a lack of human security.

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