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."

Full Episodes

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Colombia’s Ghosts of War

The 52-year Colombian civil war is not ending without leaving deep scars. As rebels hand over weapons, an entire generation of Colombians are emerging from the conflict to rebuild their nation. While some are struggling more than others, many citizens are rolling up their sleeves to clear out the ghosts of war.

Life In Refugee Camps

More than a political buzzword, refugees are real people with real fears driving their decisions, and they take great risks to protect their families. A glimpse into the lives of immigrants living in refugee camps reveals their hunger for human rights and an opportunity to start over.

What You Can Do

Learn more about the topics covered in this episode with the following organizations:

Searching for Home

Immigrants around the world face unbelievable challenges on their journey searching for a new place to call home. While much of the reporting focuses on the backlash refugees face from their new host nations, many communities are opening their arms and minds.

Background image: Feryal Aldahash looks down on her third daughter Valgerour Halla at their home in Reykjavik, Iceland. January 8 2017. | Thomson Reuters Foundation/Filippo Brachetti

  • 2020-03-05T19:00:00-08:00
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Adapting to Climate Change

Climate change affects us all, and less-developed communities, that are more closely tied to the land, often suffer more directly from environmental transformation. The changes include dramatic fluctuation of water sources, diminishing crop yields, and failure of long-held farming techniques. Discover how community leaders are adjusting, engaging with the international community and seeking innovative methods and new technologies to find sustainable ways of living.

  • 2020-03-12T20:00:00-07:00
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