Annette Jansen has a professional background in humanitarian policy making and obtained a PhD in social cultural anthropology at Amsterdam VU University, Netherlands. She currently works as an independent researcher and policy adviser on themes related to conflict, peace building, religion and gender.
Combining deep conceptual innovation and insight with original primary research, this important new book illuminates the world of 'responsibility to protect' activism and identifies the values, concerns and motives that lay behind the global campaign to eliminate mass atrocities. Experts in the field and new students alike will benefit from this book's critical reflections and its insights have relevance well beyond the world of R2P and mass atrocities. - Alex Bellamy, Director of the Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, The University of Queensland, Australia. Annette Jansen explores with great sensitivity the idea of the sacred in the secular as a distinctive motivation for humanitarian interventions - and therefore as acts that are neither purely altruistic nor simply part of global power play. The book argues that it is not merely the urge to prevent or stop genocide that energizes the call for humanitarian intervention but the sense of horror at the assault on Humanity as a sacred entity. A rich and nuanced comparison is made between the discourses of the Responsibility-to-Protect advocates on the one hand (Rwanda, Yugoslavia, etc.), for whom the aim is to save Humanity, and solidarity activists on the other (e.g., East Timor), whose primary concern is to protect and promote the political independence of a particular national entity. This book is a significant contribution to the literature on humanitarianism. - Talal Asad, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology Emeritus, Graduate Center City University of New York, USA. Scholars have spent a lot more time trying to understand the perpetrators of genocide and atrocity crimes than they have the individuals who feel it is their duty to stop such crimes from taking place. What motivates these human rights activists and humanitarians is the focus of Annette Jansen's fascinating book. Although they are attempting to save potential victims, they also see themselves as attempting to save a universal humanity that they hold to be sacred. In their defence of the sacred, they are not only following their beliefs, they also are saving themselves from losing faith in humanity altogether. - Michael Barnett, George Washington University, USA.