Responsibility to Protect (R2P)

The David Davies Memorial Institute (DDMI) has long been engaged in research on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P).

Lord Davies of Llandinam, in whose memory the DDMI was founded in 1951, is a source of inspiration for this work. He called for a global authority to arbitrate international disputes. But, when reason and argument failed to prevent disputes from turning into violent conflicts endangering peoples, he supported the authority using force to uphold peace and justice.

The role of global authorities in legitimating the use of force is a major research interest of the DDMI. For example, Professor Nicholas Wheeler published Saving Strangers: Humanitarian Intervention in International Society (2000), a comparative study of Cold War and post-Cold War cases. Dr Grant Dawson, Deputy Director of the DDMI, wrote Here is Hell: Canada's Engagement in Somalia (2007) on peacekeeping and intervention in Somalia. Dr. Naomi Head, former DDMI ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow, has published articles on theorising the role of dialogue and legitimacy in decisions to use force. A recent work is “Critical Theory and its Practices: Habermas, Kosovo and International Relations,” Politics, 28.3 (2008): pp.150-9.

Wheeler served as a research consultant on the International Committee on Intervention and State Sovereignty, which developed the original R2P concept, and he has also written many R2P articles. He and Dr Frazer Egerton, formerly research assistant with a special interest in R2P, published "The Responsibility to Protect: 'Precious Commitment' or a Promise Unfulfilled?" in the inaugural issue of the Global Responsibility to Protect journal (2008). Egerton also developed the R2P bibliography and a list of R2P weblinks for the Institute.

The DDMI has an on-going research project that is focussed on decision-making rules and principles that should determine the use of force in humanitarian emergencies Two key outputs of this will be a chapter co-authored by Dawson and Wheeler on authority and thresholds and an article that Head and Wheeler are writing on Kosovo and the use of force.

The DDMI is developing its R2P profile. Strengthened by a widening network of passionate scholars, the Institute intends to continue its research well into the future. It has research links or networks with established scholars in Cardiff and Australia, and expects to make further contributions to the scholarly and policy debate.