More demanding expectations of the private sector vis-à-vis states and citizens have emerged which include among others that businesses should not solely seek profit; they also have societal responsibilities.

With the emergence of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) which acknowledges that states have the primary responsibility to protect their citizens against mass atrocities, the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General called upon the international community, including the private sector, to play a role in helping states meet their R2P obligations.

Several reports of the UN Secretary-General clarify the concept of R2P and offer some guidance for relevant actors to implement the doctrine. However, due to a lack of concrete guidance, key actors, including the private sector itself, may not be (fully) aware of the potential of businesses in this domain. This paper will advance the argument that the private sector can effectively contribute to the prevention of mass atrocities and can support states’ efforts to meet their R2P obligations.

By analyzing the mass atrocity prevention framework, presenting practical examples of how businesses could contribute in this domain and by drawing lessons from the case of the business association called Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) that contributed to the prevention of mass atrocities during the 2013 presidential elections in Kenya, the paper demonstrates that businesses can provide important contributions to mass atrocity prevention. The private sector should therefore be recognized as key partner within the context of R2P and the broader framework of mass atrocity prevention.