Limited success

LONDON – As civilians in the Syrian city of Aleppo are battered by air strikes, ground offensives and shelling, what has happened to the world’s responsibility to protect populations under threat?

The Geneva Conventions and the United Nations Security Council were established after World War II to maintain peace and protect people in conflict zones.

But a 21st-century UN doctrine called Responsibility To Protect (R2P), set up by the world body’s member states to prevent mass killings, has only had limited success. Although formalised in 2005, R2P came about largely in response to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, in which extremist Hutu militiamen slaughtered some 800,000 minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

The doctrine also stemmed from a desire to prevent a recurrence of atrocities such as the 1995 massacre of 8000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys by Serb forces in the town of Srebrenica.

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