In this essay, Thomas G. Weiss considers whether the responsibility to protect, or R2P, framework can extend to attacks on cultural heritage. Weiss argues that because violence against heritage is so closely entwined with violence against people, R2P can be brought to bear on these instances of conflict, offering a way to protect both heritage and people. He suggests that existing legal frameworks are adequate to achieve this goal, but in order to do so, the international community faces both political challenges and a normative shift.
Thomas G. Weiss
Thomas G. Weiss is Presidential Professor of Political Science at the CUNY Graduate Center; Distinguished Fellow, Global Governance, at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs; and Global Eminence Scholar, Kyung Hee University, Korea. Past Andrew Carnegie Fellow and president of the International Studies Association and recipient of its “Distinguished IO Scholar Award,” chair of the Academic Council on the UN System, editor of Global Governance, and Research Director of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, he has written extensively about global governance, international peace and security, humanitarian action, and sustainable development. His recent authored books include: The “Third” United Nations: How a Knowledge Ecology Helps the UN Think (with Tatiana Carayannis; Oxford University Press, 2021); Rethinking Global Governance (with Rorden Wilkinson; Polity, 2019); Would the World Be Better without the UN? (Polity, 2018); and Humanitarianism, War, and Politics: Solferino to Syria and Beyond (with Peter J. Hoffman; Rowman & Littlefield, 2018). He currently cochairs the Cultural Heritage at Risk Project of the J. Paul Getty Trust, where he is editor (with James Cuno) of the forthcoming volume, Cultural Heritage and Mass Atrocities (J. Paul Getty Trust, 2022), upon which this essay draws.