1st Edition

Regional Approaches to the Responsibility to Protect Lessons from Europe and West Africa

By Jochem Rietveld Copyright 2023
    186 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book studies regional approaches to the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) in Europe and West Africa.

    The work assesses how and to what extent the European Union (EU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have internalised the norm, both generally, in institutions, policies, and programs and specifically, in crisis situations of R2P concern, such as the 2011 Libyan crisis and 2012 Malian crisis. It provides a historical analysis of how the two regional organisations have dealt with questions of sovereignty, security, and human rights since their founding, as well as an analysis of some of the European and West African roots of the R2P norm. This reflects the notion that global norms are often informed by local and regional practices and that this needs to be recognised in order to fully understand regional responses to alleged global norms. The book uses process tracing to trace the regional internalisation of R2P and has benefited from qualitative research interviews with EU- and ECOWAS-stakeholders. One of the key findings is that ECOWAS and West Africa have delivered a key contribution to the norm construction of R2P, a finding insufficiently recognised in the current literature.

    This book will be of much interest to students of the Responsibility to Protect, EU human rights and foreign policy, African politics, security studies, and International Relations in general.

    1. Introduction

    2. An Analytical Framework for Assessing Norms, Regional Organisations, and the Responsibility to Protect

    3. Contextual Analysis: Regional Approaches to Security, Sovereignty and Human Rights

    4. The EU and R2P: From Public Endorsements to Implementation?

    5. ECOWAS and R2P: West African Inspirations of a Global Norm

    6. Conclusion


    Jochem Rietveld is Research Associate at the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, University of Cambridge, UK, and holds a PhD in International Relations and Comparative Regionalism from LUISS Guido Carli, Italy/University of Warwick, UK.

    'To protect people against mass atrocity crimes remains a crucial issue of these turbulent times. This book provides a timely analysis on the norm of responsibility to protect and identifies the challenges to norm diffusion. Rietveld problematizes the EU normative claims and highlights the agency of regional organizations in internalising a global norm. A mandatory reading to better understand regional security.'

    Stefania Panebianco, Jean Monnet Chair and Associate Professor, University of Catania, Visiting Professor, MES-MUNDUS Master Programme at LUISS-Guido Carli, Rome

    'Rietveld’s piercing analysis reveals how regional organizations like the EU and ECOWAS have struggled to prevent atrocities and protect vulnerable populations. This book makes a timely contribution to our understanding of how global norms like the Responsibility to Protect are locally constructed, modified and operationalized.'

    Simon Adams, President of the Center for Victims of Torture. Former Executive Director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect.