Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Political Science

Content Description

1 online resource (iii, viii, 312 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Peter Breiner

Committee Members

Morton Schoolman, Kristen Hessler


Human Rights, Neocolonialism, Political Theory, Postcolonialism, Poverty, Responsibility to Protect, Responsibility to protect (International law), Humanitarian intervention, Atrocities, Genocide, Genocide intervention, Ethnic conflict, Imperialism, Conflict management, Political violence, Violence, Massacres, Civil rights, Colonization, Ethnic relations

Subject Categories

International Relations | Political Science


The Responsibility to Protect principle was founded on the premise that sovereignty requires responsibility. The principle establishes the responsibility of states to protect their citizens from mass atrocity crimes and shifts the responsibility to the international community if states fail. This thesis explains how former colonies have had particular difficulty in meeting this responsibility and often fail to protect their populations from things like severe poverty and human rights abuses including mass atrocity crimes. In former colonies the matter of responsibility is complicated by the residual effects of colonial policies that often leave former colonies impoverished, dependent, socially fragmented and with a limited capacity protect their populations. In addition, foreign and international entities such as global financial institutions and transnational corporations often hold significant power in former colonies and even make decisions regarding national budgets and the use of the military.