Mission statement

The European Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (ECR2P) is dedicated to advancing the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) principle through research, education, training, and policy dialogue. Our members have been at the forefront of theoretical and policy debates related to the R2P framework. Our aim is to build on these contributions so that those committed to R2P can better serve its purpose, which is to prevent humanity’s worst crimes and protect the world’s most vulnerable populations. Our main goal is to enhance research capacity to tackle atrocity prevention as one of the most urgent and demanding global challenges of our times.

The European Centre for the R2P convenes the Global Women Network on R2P, Peace and Security, the only women network in the world which brings together expert policymakers, practitioners, researchers, academics, journalists, civil society representatives working on these topics. ECR2P also works closely with academic collaborators from across the continent and coordinates the European Network of R2P scholars. Since its inception, the ECR2P has worked closely with the other two centres on the R2P in the world, namely the Asia-Pacific Centre for R2P at the University of Queensland and the Global Centre for R2P based in New York.

Apart from contributions made through education and training at all levels, ECR2P also works with and supports our partner institutions, which translates into impact beyond academia, as seen in our work with the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the R2P. Furthermore, the ECR2P is part of the only summer school on Atrocity Prevention for postgraduate students in the world, namely the Atrocity Prevention Summer School at IUC, an initiative of the former UN Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on the R2P, Dr Ivan Simonovic, which brings together students from across the world to Dubrovnik, each year since 2019. The ECR2P contributes to the training and teaching related to this Summer School in collaboration with the Asia-Pacific Centre for R2P and the GCR2P. Since January 2020, the ECR2P also hosts the flagship academic journal Global Responsibility to Protect.

ECR2P has two Co-Directors, Adrian Gallagher and Cristina Stefan, who form part of the Executive Team along with Professors Edward Newman, Garrett Brown, and Jason Ralph. In this Research Excellence Framework (REF) cycle we have also had one postdoctoral research assistant, two postdoctoral research fellows, and ten Ph.D. students. We have forged strong collaborative links with NGOs such as Protection Approaches, UNA-UK, and Aegis Trust. Regarding the former, Dr Kate Ferguson acts a Head of Policy Engagement for ECR2P as we seek to influence decision making at the European Union and UK Governmental level. Regarding the latter, ECR2P holds two White Rose DTP ESRC Collaborative Awards with UNA-UK and Aegis Trust, which fund research into UK Mass Atrocity Prevention and Sexual Abuse Perpetrated by Peacekeepers.

In terms of academic research, the ECR2P Executive team have published over 30 articles in leading journals such as European Journal of International Relations, European Journal of International Security, International Affairs, International Theory, Journal of Common Market Studies, International Organisation, and Review of International Studies, as well as numerous book chapters. Other publications from ECR2P Executive Team members include a series of policy reports as well as guest editing four special issue journals: Ethics and International Affairs (2018), International Politics (2016), Criminal Law Forum (2015), and Global Responsibility to Protect (2015). The fact that four of these articles have been co-authored with PhD researchers, a further four with postdoctoral research fellows and one with a postdoctoral research assistant evidences ECR2P’s strong commitment to early career support. Furthermore, all Ph.D. students present their work as part of the ECR2P Research Seminar Series and are integrated into conferences, workshops, and reading groups. This is an on-going commitment with the ECR2P Executive Team presenting and submitting a further three articles co-authored with Ph.D. students in the near future. The research underpins our response to calls for oral and written evidence with members of the Executive Team providing oral evidence at the House of Lords (2018), written evidence to the UK Foreign Affairs Committee (2020, 2018 and 2015), and oral evidence to the House of Commons Defence Committee (2014).

ECR2P activities include: 1) Annual Lecture series given by high profile speakers such as the United Nations Special Advisors on the Responsibility to Protect; 2) ECR2P Research Seminar Series where staff and Ph.D. students present their research and funding grant applications; 3) ECR2P blog series ‘Fresh Perspectives’, which make academic research available to the public; 4) ECR2P Student Coalition, which later on became the R2P Student Society, which facilitates student engagement with the Centre and provides opportunities for students to gain experience in project activities and in organising events. The R2P Student Society, which started as the ECR2P Student Coalition, is now in its sixth year and organises public outreach events in the Leeds city centre. In 2015, the R2P Student Coalitions at Leeds and Geneva bi-laterally launched the R2P Student Journal which continues to release two issues per year. and, 5) research-led teaching. We teach a third-year undergraduate elective module ‘Critically Analysing the Responsibility to Protect’ to around 80 students and will launch an MA module on The Responsibility to Protect in 2020-2021 academic year. ECR2P also contributes towards the teaching and training for the Atrocity Prevention Summer School at IUC in Croatia, an initiative of the former UN Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on the R2P, Dr Ivan Simonovic, which brings together students from across the world to learn about mass atrocities prevention, each year since 2019.