The competition of ideas: towards a shared regional understanding of R2P?
The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) was developed against the backdrop of the heated debate on humanitarian intervention in the 1990s. This decade was characterized by both flagrant inaction in the face of genocide, such as in Rwanda, and by intervention outside the UN legal framework, such as in Kosovo (Schrijver 2013). These dramatic events led former UN Secretary- General Kofi Annan to ask the following question in his 2000 Millennium Report: "If humanitarian intervention is, indeed, an unacceptable assault on sovereignty, how should we respond to a Rwanda, to a Srebrenica, to gross and systematic violation of human rights that offend every precept of our common humanity” (UN 2000)? Annan’s call proved to be the starting point for a long process that eventually resulted in the development of the principle of the Responsibility to Protect. With R2P, norm entrepreneurs such as the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) aimed to reframe the debate on sovereignty and intervention “by making respect for sovereignty conditional on the responsible exercise of sovereignty by a government” (Schrijver 2013, 318-319). The principle of R2P was eventually adopted at the UN-level at the 2005 World Summit. Here, states subscribed to the notion that “each individual state has the responsibility to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity” (UN 2005). Second, the international community should, as appropriate, assist states to exercise this responsibility and, in case national authorities would manifestly fail to protect their populations from mass atrocity crimes, it should be ready to take action to remedy the situation, with all necessary means at its disposal (UN 2005).
This research project aims to explain how the norm of R2P has evolved since 2005 and, more specifically, how and to what extent different regional organizations have internalized and diffused the norm. This involves both looking at the intraregional level how individual regional organizations have processed (and are processing) the norm and then, at the interregional level, to what extent they have promoted their understanding of the norm at other regional fora. I subscribe to Welsh’ (2013) notion that questions the idea of progressive development and stability in the meaning of norms. This implies that "contestation should be seen as part and parcel of normative evolution, and that R2P, as an indeterminate and complex norm, is particularly susceptible to these processes” (Welsh 2013, 395). Norm contestation, as well as other norm-related concepts such as localization and circulation are taken into account, as they are expected to have important effects on the processes of norm diffusion and internalization. The method of process-tracing will be employed to shed light on the normative trajectories of R2P within and between the regional fora under analysis.
The EU and ECOWAS will serve as case studies for investigating the regional processes of norm internalization and diffusion of R2P.
The audience of this research project is relatively broad: it includes foreign policy makers (both at the national and regional level), international organizations in the field of peace and security, NGOs and advocacy groups. The challenge concerning the Responsibility to Protect is that a consensus on the norm (and especially on the implementation of the norm) is currently lacking. A challenge for some civil society groups is to get the norm of R2P on their state's political agenda.
My project could help addressing these challenges by filling in an information gap. One of the aims of the project is to get a deeper understanding of the factors that influence the degree of norm diffusion and norm internalization of R2P in and between regional fora. These factors could reveal why some regional organizations have a positive attitude towards R2P, whereas others are more skeptical or more internally divided on the issue. This information could help R2P advocates in their efforts to build support for the norm and it could also provide insights into which strategies will be most promising to increase consensus on the norm. For civil society groups, it could show what the most important sensitivities surrounding R2P are, so they will know how to frame the norm to get it on their state's political agenda and to gather societal support.
Nov 2016 – Aug 2017 LUISS Guido Carli Rome, Italy
Sep 2017 – Aug 2018 University of Warwick Coventry, UK
Sep 2018 – Feb 2019 Istituto Affari Internazionali Rome, Italy
Mar 2019 – Oct 2019 LUISS Guido Carli Rome, Italy
DEGREES AND TITLES
MSc in International Relations and Diplomacy
Leiden University and The Clingendael Institute, The Netherlands, 2014
BSc in Political Science
Leiden University, The Netherlands, 2012
Since my graduation in the summer of 2014, I have worked as teaching assistant in Political Science and International Relations & Organizations at Leiden University. In this capacity, I taught the seminars of a wide range of courses to first- and second year’s students. Courses included, amongst others, ‘International Politics’, ‘International Organizations’, ‘International Security’ and ‘Comparative Analysis of Political Systems’. I generally had 20 to 25 students per class and my responsibilities included explaining theories and concepts, grading presentations, papers and exams and facilitating in-class assignments.
In the Spring of 2015, I interned as foreign policy assistant to Member of Parliament Sjoerd Sjoerdsma (D66), member of the parliamentary committees of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade & ODA, in the Dutch House of Representatives (‘Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal’). In this position, I prepared debates, drafted speeches, managed the MP’s agenda and received his guests. Debates on which I contributed include 'Extension of the Dutch contribution to UNMISS South-Sudan' (26/2), 'Boko Haram' (23/4) and 'Dutch approach to Yemen' (18/6).
Running, music (I like many different genres, from pop to classical music and I play the piano myself), social activities and keeping up with the news.
Process Tracing as a Social Science Method. Methods Textbook (Routledge: 2019).