Altair Guimarães

Responsibility To Protect?

Responsibility to Protect (R2P) is a principle created when leaders at the UN joined together in 2005 to declare that, when national leaders were harming or failing to protect their citizens, the international community had the right and responsibility to step in and do so. But how and when such interventions should take place has always been up for debate. A decade later, and five years into a bloody war in Syria that has spurred the worst refugee crisis since WWII, and shows no signs of ending, is R2P guiding political action at all?

"The people who pay the price for our failure to protect civilians are in Aleppo, right now, as we speak. And that should shock the conscience of anybody who thinks of this issue," says Michael Ignatieff, Canadian author and former politician.

This short documentary offers a history of the principle and asks eminent diplomats, politicians, and thinkers (Ghassan Salame, Michael Ignatieff, and Paddy Ashdown) with hands-on experience with humanitarian interventions to share their thoughts and answer the question: Is R2P still relevant, or is it a notion from another era?

"Sometimes you're damned if you do, damned if you don't," Ignatieff says. "If you don't intervene, you get Syria. if you do intervene, you can get Lybia. But you can also get Kosovo. You can also get the protection of the Kurds."

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The Resilience of Children

The future of our communities lies in protecting our most vulnerable yet most resilient members: our children. But often, children are the first victims of war and poverty. Many face horrifying events and live with the trauma for the rest of their lives. Despite this, some children survive these events to become leaders of their communities and voices for peace.

Taboo Health Issues

Many communities around the world see disease and mental illness not as something to be treated, but as something to be feared. As a result, many suffering from curable conditions are stigmatized within their communities. But through education and organizing, some people are challenging these stigmas and addressing previously taboo health issues.

Green at What Price?

In the name of environmental restoration, the Ugandan government is expanding the country’s forest reserves in order to sell into the global carbon credit market. But this program comes at a high human cost as the state is displacing long established villages, forcing people to relocate, and jailing those opposing the program.

One Man, One City, Three Evictions

Rio de Janeiro has experienced several waves of development in the past century. For Altair Guimaraes the changes have affected him directly. Brought up in a favela, he has been evicted three times as a result of Rio’s developments. As Brazil tries to gain global recognition and increase tourism, locals like Altair are forced to relocate despite property titles. Now, their struggles are becoming a symbol of a global phenomenon.

Women's Work

Women from all over the world are trailblazing through gender barriers in difficult and often dangerous environments. They are defying cultural norms and finding ways to pursue their dreams and change their future. The women featured in this episode are giving a new meaning to the term “women’s work.”