Project Ploughshares - The Responsibility to Protect (R2P)

Project Ploughshares is a non-governmental organization that works with churches, governments and civil society, in Canada and abroad, to advance policies and actions to prevent war and armed violence and build peace.

The international community’s adoption of the 2005 Responsibility to Protect doctrine (R2P) was a milestone decision at the United Nations to signal that national sovereignty should no longer be a barrier behind which the world’s most vulnerable and abused people are out of reach of their basic right to protection. The R2P doctrine is fraught with controversy and challenge, and the 2005 decision turned out to be a moment of promise that has yet to be translated into action.

Project Ploughshares' work on the issue began much earlier with a major bibliographic study, Humanitarian Intervention: A Review of Literature. A series of seminars and roundtables explored the ethical and implementation challenges. Project Ploughshares has been especially engaged in the African debate through a series of consultations carried out in East, West, and Southern Africa by Project Ploughshares in cooperation with the Africa Peace Forum, the African Women’s Development and Communication Network, and the Africa Institute of South Africa. The subsequent report, The Responsibility to Protect: East, West, and Southern African Perspectives on Preventing and Responding to Humanitarian Crises, led to a significant set of African-generated recommendations.

Ploughshares was also involved in the work of the World Council of Churches Commission on International Affairs in its multi-year study of the issue, culminating in a ground-breaking resolution in 2006.

Since then Ploughshares has worked with Canadian churches and other elements of civil society to address ways and means of putting the doctrine into practice.

Prepared for The Simons Foundation by Nancy Regehr of Project Ploughshares, 2011.