The Responsibility to Engage: Cosmopolitan Civic Engagement and the Spread of the Responsibility to Protect Doctrine


Political Science and International Affairs

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When the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine was widely adopted by the international community at the 2005 World Summit, it became the first such principle to advocate for the enforcement of international law and provide for both punishment and prevention of international human rights violations. While this created a shift away from the once sacrosanct norm of national sovereignty, another equally important change was occurring. The digital age has redefined the nature and scope of civic engagement. With increased communication and availability of information, citizenship has transcended national borders and expanded to engagement at the local, national, and international level. These new levels of engagement also change the nature of democracy through the inclusion of issues and opinions beyond the domestic constituency. Additionally, the methods of engagement have expanded through the use of social media and other digital platforms. The combination of the R2P doctrine and cosmopolitan civic engagement has created a vital nexus which gives human rights and international law a new form of accountability and enforcement. This article will explore the co-development of these norms and the implications for conflict prevention and resolution as well as democracy.

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