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Published in Global Responsibility to Protect, 7(1) 2015: 56-80.
This article responds to the 2013 UN Secretary General’s (UNSG) annual report on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), titled ‘State Responsibility and Prevention’. The orientation of R2P as a tool for addressing risk factors for atrocity crimes in domestic contexts indicates a conceptual deepening and widening of R2P to provide states with an atrocity prevention lens within their jurisdiction. This article examines state policies and practices of protecting civilians during communal violence in India, arguing that progress on the First Pillar of R2P necessitates a conceptual shift at both the international level and at the domestic level. The politics surrounding communal violence in India provides an important case study to question the salience of R2P norms for domestic practices of state responsibility and prevention that are currently being promoted in the UNSG agenda on R2P, and considers the implications this report has for states committed to a narrow interpretation of R2P.