Among the core functional norms of the international political system, a responsibility to protect the individual has been conspicuously lacking. From the apathetic response of the global community to mass murders to the acceptance of “collateral damage” as an everyday cost of war, the value of human life is permanently and consistently rated as less important than the preservation and advancement of state sovereignty. Movements attempting to enshrine this concept of a “responsibility to protect,” often shortened to R2P, have been started since the turn of the century, determined to ensure genocide like that seen in Rwanda is never allowed to happen again.
A 2001 report by the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, a body formed partly in response to the Rwandan genocide, stated a need for the “internationalization of the human conscience.” In short, the geopolitical intentions of nation-states should not be given priority over the safety and well being of people. The report laid out a chain of responsibility. (1) A state is responsible for the well being of all its inhabitants. (2) If it should fail in this duty, the international community had a right and responsibility to intervene to protect its residents. At the 2005 World Summit, all 191 member states of the UN voted to adopt the R2P principle and agreed to hold one another responsible should they fail to live up to the nature of the agreement.