The Harald Edelstam Foundation together with the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation is arranging a seminar on the theme “Responsibility to Protect”. It is a political/legal term created at the turn of the century to define the duty of the international community to act in prevention of genocide and other egregious abuses when domestic authorities collapse or fail to respect and ensure fundamental human rights. In humanitarian emergencies, passivity is not an option.
Action in the field in hostile environments, however, is a privilege of a few, because exceptional courage is required. In extreme situations of widespread human suffering and persecution, those who are willing to risk themselves on behalf of others, not only save lives, but most importantly preserve for all of us the essential value of human dignity, indispensable for our lives being worth living. Harald Edelstam is one of these few exceptions. In every situation in which he was confronted, he had the option of using his diplomatic immunity for saving himself, or the choice of acting to protect others in imminent danger. He decided to act, whatever the price. His generosity left us a legacy of coherence and responsibility, a reference for our collective duty to act in protection of defenseless people who are the victims of serious abuses.
The concept of responsibility to protect has been politically misused and abused in recent times. Supporting the concept’ original meaning, i.e. international commitment for effective human rights protection, peace and civilization, multilateral diplomacy, peaceful settlement of disputes through dialogue and negotiation, institutional strengthening of the rule of law, transparency and accountability, is probably the best tribute we can offer to the memory of Harald Edelstam.
The seminar is free of charge and is arranged by the Harald Edelstam Foundation in co-operation with the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation. IDEA is kindly hosting the seminar.
Please register via e-mail to: no later than the 15th of April.