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The Limits of Liberal Humanitarianism in Europe: The ‘Responsibility to Protect’ and Forced Migration

Edward Newman

Abstract


Extract

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Abstract

This article explores the response of Europe to the refugee ‘crisis’ since 2015 and considers if this is a reasonable test of the region’s commitment to international humanitarianism and the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ principle (R2P). This response is explored both in terms of policy decisions and the political discourse used to frame the nature of the challenge, which weighs humanitarian obligations against the needs of ‘security’, ‘societal cohesion’ and ‘burden sharing’. The article argues that the European response to the refugee crisis exposes internal contradictions and limitations in liberal humanitarianism more broadly, as well as fundamental problems with R2P even amongst those countries which champion the principle. Theoretically, the paper draws upon debates about securitisation, humanitarian norms, and liberal politics. Empirically, the paper analyses elite discourse and policy decisions within Europe, as well as UN statistical data on forced migration.

Keywords: Forced migration; ‘Responsibility to Protect’; securitisation; Europe

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Bibliography: Newman, Edward: The Limits of Liberal Humanitarianism in Europe: The ‘Responsibility to Protect’ and Forced Migration, ERIS, 2-3-2017, pp. 59-77. https://doi.org/10.3224/eris.v4i2-3.04


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