Humanitarian Intervention with Respect to R2P

Topics: United Nations, Human rights, United Nations Security Council Pages: 13 (3241 words) Published: July 3, 2013


The objective of humanitarian intervention is to prevent mass violation of human rights and human dignity. It has remained a compelling issue in international affairs because of its controversial character. Although sovereignty has formed the basis of international relations since the Treaty of Westphalia, events in the 1990s raised the impetus of the international community to place the protection of civilians before state autonomy. However, given the complexity of international law and international relations, the threshold for triggering interventions continues to be debated.


Humanitarian intervention is the threat or use of force by a state or an international body aimed at preventing or ending state-sanctioned violations of human rights. Humanitarian intervention is conducted without the permission of the state where mass violation of human rights has occurred.

Statement of the problem

Incidents of overt violation of humanitarian law can be seen around the globe. Disproportionate and indiscriminate attacks on civilians are the primary subject of discussion. For instance, the Israeli army was accused of killing over 800 civilians up to August 1st, 2006 in Lebanon during Lebanese-Israeli Lebanese conflict is normally used as a case study for humanitarian intervention since it is more an interstate conflict rather than intrastate conflict, which started in July, 20062.The devastating and gruesome violation of humanitarian law in Rwanda shocked the international world. Moreover, starting on 6 April 1994, after the death the presidents of Burundi and Rwanda, massacre of two ethnic tribes, Tutsi and Hutus, took place in Rwanda, which resulted in the death of 1 million people and raping of 250,000women. These cases have caught the attention of the international society, especially the UN. However, there are setbacks that obstruct the UN to take decisive actions.

National Sovereignty

National sovereignty refers to the absolute application of jurisdiction by the state government within the confines of its border. Other actors have narrowly construed or limited legitimacy to intervene. Furthermore, according to UN Charter Article II, Chapter VII which is often regarded as embodiment of sovereignty as rights.” Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nation to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state.” The UN Charter also associated state sovereignty to state responsibility. As stressed by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2006, “The Charter protects the sovereignty of people. It was never meant as a license for governments to tremble on human rights and human dignity.” Sovereignty implies responsibility, not just power.” In other words, state government should have universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedom. But in accordance with UN Charter VII, national sovereignty can be set aside if it stands in the way of the overriding duty of the Security Council to preserve international peace. Another important aspect is that international law eventually prohibits the use of force against the territorial integrity of other states. The use of force is only permissible in self-defense or for enforcement measures. The extended interest regarding human rights in the international law has on many accounts resulted in the violation of territorial integrity, which means that the legality of humanitarian intervention is often called into question. Now the international body faces a dilemma. Humanitarian Intervention is mandated on behalf of dignity for all human kind. However, many argue that humanitarian intervention is violation of territorial integrity. The use of force on other states...


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