R2P at the Borders

Europe’s responsibility to people seeking sanctuary – a conversation with Jens Stappenbeck

Jens Stappenbeck (Photo: PRIF).

The majority of refugees today are fleeing ongoing, risks of, or the conse­quences of mass atrocity crimes. At the same time, mass detention of, and hostile policies towards, migrants and refugees are increasingly being found to meet definitions of mass atrocity crime from President Trump’s separation of children and forced hysterec­tomies to abuse by Greece of asylum seekers’ rights. In the broader sense, these acts can be seen to be facilitating the original atrocity by preventing the victims from escaping, or by contributing to the mass deaths of migrants in transit. Many of these acts of atrocity take place far from zones of conflict, including at and within European borders.

Are European attitudes and policies towards refugees and migrants consistent with their R2P commit­ments? What does the experience of refugees and migrants within and across Europe tell us about the region’s commit­ment to human rights, human dignity, the prevention of identity-­based violence, and a world free from mass atrocity crimes? As climate crises worsen, mass atrocities become more likely, and movement of people continue, how can European states ensure its treatment of those seeking sanctuary and national approaches to the prevention of mass violence abroad are joined up?


  • Blanka Jamnišek – Ambassador, Human Rights Department and National R2P Focal Point of Slovenia
  • Jens Stappenbeck– Executive Director of Genocide Alert and Doctoral Researcher, Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF)
  • Nazek Ramadan – Executive Director of Migrant Voice


The conversation will be facilitated by Dr James Souter, Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Leeds.

When: Thursday, September 30, 4pm (CEST)
Where: Online; registration required.

More information


About the Series

This is the third seminar of Interrogating Europe, a series on Europe and R2P co-hosted by Protection Approaches and the European Centre for the Responsibility to Protect to explore the relationships between Europe and the principle of the Responsibility to Protect.