Responding to forced displacement as a mass atrocity crime



Publication Details

Orchard, P. (2016). Responding to forced displacement as a mass atrocity crime. In A. J. Bellamy & T. Dunne (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of the Responsibility to Protect (pp. 604-619). Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.


The protection of forced migrants and the R2P doctrine are inexorably linked. Refugee and internally displaced person forced movements can be triggered directly through mass atrocity crimes, indirectly as people flee mass atrocities, and even by the international use of force triggered by R2P responses. A range of causes of displacement are international crimes and fall within the R2P. However, the international response to internal displacement situations, in particular, tends to highlight legal and humanitarian based forms of protection and assistance, necessarily limited by the issue of sovereignty and state consent. These provide little direct protection in mass atrocity situations. R2P offers a path around the issue of sovereignty not only through the use of force but also by redefining how humanitarian assistance is provided, as demonstrated by Syria.

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