New special UN adviser to focus on responsibility to protect

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Rick BajornasUnited Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Jennifer Welsh of Canada as his Special Adviser who will focus on the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity. She will succeed Edward Luck of the United States, who left the position in June 2012, and to whom the Secretary-General is deeply grateful, according to the announcement.

Ms. Welsh will work under the overall guidance of Adama Dieng, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, to further the conceptual, political, institutional and operational development of the responsibility to protect concept, as set out by the General Assembly in the 2005 World Summit outcome document.

Currently Professor of International Relations and Co-Director of the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict at the University of Oxford, Ms. Welsh will serve at the level of Assistant Secretary-General.

Her research projects include the evolution of the “responsibility to protect” in international society, the ethics of post-conflict reconstruction, the authority of the UN Security Council and the notion of sovereignty.

Ms. Welsh was previously Associate Director for the Peace and Conflict Studies Programme at the University of Toronto, Cadieux Research Fellow in the policy planning staff of the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and Jean Monnet Fellow of the European University Institute. She has also taught international relations at McGill University and at the Central European University and published widely on the responsibility to protect and atrocity prevention.


Learn more about the United Nations and the Responsibility to Protect.