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Localising the Responsibility to Protect? The UK and Syrian Refugees

Gilgan, Chloe (2018) Localising the Responsibility to Protect? The UK and Syrian Refugees. PhD thesis, University of York.

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CMGilgan- Complete Dissertation -01.02.2019.pdf - Examined Thesis (PDF)
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Abstract

This PhD seeks to understand why the UK has not linked the resettlement of Syrian refugees to the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), a political norm it continues to support. Under R2P, the UK agreed to use ‘diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means’ to help protect populations from mass atrocities when a state like Syria is ‘manifestly failing’ to do so. The UK has not linked its humanitarian responses, including the Home Office’s Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement programme, to R2P. This is due to different understandings of R2P within Parliament, the Home Office and Foreign Office, as well as contestation of R2P in UK civil society. Misconceptions around R2P, especially its conflation with military intervention, help explain why UK civil society has not used R2P to advocate for greater protection of Syrian refugees by the UK government. Through an analysis of official discourse and interviews with government officials and civil society representatives, this PhD makes an original contribution to knowledge. First, the research contributes broadly to critical constructivist norm theory by rebutting a permissible presumption that norms diffuse in powerful liberal states without contestation or localisation by looking at the UK’s practice of R2P. Second, it contributes to critical constructivism by illuminating how localisation and ‘meanings-in-use’ may conceal norm degeneration and thus require greater clarity in defining their limits on norm health similar to the existing limits on contestation. Third, it contributes to R2P scholarship by examining how the norm’s underlying aspirations relied upon in R2P advocacy are in constant tension with states’ conceptual understandings and practice of R2P. Fourth, the PhD shows how the R2P norm interacts with international refugee law. Finally, the findings may promote greater understanding of R2P implementation, which may lead to more robust advocacy by civil society and more coherent government policy on mass atrocity response.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Related URLs:
Academic Units: The University of York > Law
Depositing User: Mrs Chloe Gilgan
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2019 13:13
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2019 13:13
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/22847

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