The Responsibility to Protect (R2P or RtoP) is a global political commitment which was endorsed by all member states of the United Nations at the 2005 World Summit to prevent genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. The principle of the Responsibility to Protect is based on the underlying premise that sovereignty entails a responsibility to protect all populations from mass atrocity crimes and human rights violations. The principle is based on a respect for the norms and principles of international law, especially the underlying principles of law relating to sovereignty, peace and security, human rights, and armed conflict. The Responsibility to Protect provides a framework for employing measures that already exist (i.e., mediation, early warning mechanisms, economic sanctions, and chapter VII powers) to prevent atrocity crimes and to protect civilians from their occurrence. The authority to employ the use of force under the framework of the Responsibility to Protect rests solely with United Nations Security Council and is considered a measure of last resort. The United Nations Secretary-General has published annual reports on the Responsibility to Protect since 2009 that expand on the measures available to governments, intergovernmental organizations, and civil society, as well as the private sector, to prevent atrocity crimes.
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