By: Mark Leon Goldberg on February 23, 2011 The Security Council’s press statement on Libya yesterday included a phrase that ought to pique some interest. The members of the Security Council called on the Government of Libya to meet its responsibility to protect its population. They called upon the Libyan authorities to act with restraint, to respect human rights and international humanitarian law, and to allow immediate access for international human rights monitors and humanitarian agencies. Responsibility to Protect, or R2P, as it is known was a doctrine approved by world leaders in 2005. It stipulates that states have a duty to protect its populations against mass atrocity, crimes against humanity and genocide. But when a state manifestly fails to protect its population, and peaceful means are inadequate “the international community must take stronger measures, including collective use of force authorized by the Security Council under Chapter VII.” I’m fairly certain that this is the first time that R2P, as it is known, was mentioned in a formal Security Council statement in reference to an ongoing crisis. Should the slaughter in Libya continue at pace, I would imagine that in the coming days and weeks, the Council will more seriously consider issuing a formal resolution on the situation. The statement yesterday was so useful because it helps lay the groundwork for a Chapter VII resolution invoking R2P, should it come to that. Here’s the full statement The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti ( Brazil): The members of the Security Council were briefed on the situation in Libya by B. Lynn Pascoe, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, and the Permanent Representative of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, whose Mission had requested a meeting of the Security Council. The members of the Security Council welcomed the statement issued by the League of Arab States on 22 February 2011. The members of the Security Council expressed grave concern at the situation in Libya. They condemned the violence and use of force against civilians, deplored the repression against peaceful demonstrators, and expressed deep regret at the deaths of hundreds of civilians. They called for an immediate end to the violence and for steps to address the legitimate demands of the population, including through national dialogue. The members of the Security Council called on the Government of Libya to meet its responsibility to protect its population. They called upon the Libyan authorities to act with restraint, to respect human rights and international humanitarian law, and to allow immediate access for international human rights monitors and humanitarian agencies. The members of the Security Council called for international humanitarian assistance to the people of Libya and expressed concern at the reports of shortages of medical supplies to treat the wounded. They strongly urged the Libyan authorities to ensure the safe passage of humanitarian and medical supplies and humanitarian workers into the country. The members of the Security Council underlined the need for the Government of Libya to respect the freedom of peaceful assembly and of expression, including freedom of the press. They called for the immediate lifting of restrictions on all forms of the media. The members of the Security Council stressed the importance of accountability. They underscored the need to hold to account those responsible for attacks, including by forces under their control, on civilians. The members of the Security Council expressed deep concern about the safety of foreign nationals in Libya. They urged the Libyan authorities and all relevant parties to ensure the safety of all foreign nationals and facilitate the departure of those wishing to leave the country. The members of the Security Council will continue to follow the situation closely.