We are pleased to announce the release of ICNC’s latest Special Report:
Preventing Mass Atrocities:
From a Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) to a
Right to Assist (RtoA) Campaigns of Civil Resistance
by Peter Ackerman and Hardy Merriman
This groundbreaking work advances a new doctrine called the “Right to Assist” (RtoA) that can facilitate international support to nonviolent civil resistance movements struggling for rights freedom, and justice around the world.
Drawing from extensive social science research as well as insights from practitioners, Ackerman and Merriman explain how support for nonviolent civil resistance can reduce the risk of atrocities and civil war and increase the prospects for long-term democratic stability. They offer significant detail on how the Right to Assist could be implemented by laying out a five-part typology of forms of international assistance, and considering external support from the perspectives of efficacy, international law, practical concerns, and possible unintended consequences.
This Special Report adds a critical new dimension to the question of how to respond to rising authoritarianism—an issue that can no longer be ignored by members of the foreign policy community. A more authoritarian world is a world of more atrocities, human rights abuse, and rampant corruption. Meeting this challenge requires approaches that are adaptable and innovative and that cannot be held up indefinitely in the United Nations. Advancing the Right to Assist is a bold move in this direction, offering a framework that can engage a wide range of stakeholders.