Blood and Borders: The Responsibility to Protect and the Problem of the Kin-State

Walter Kemp, Vesselin Popovski, Ramesh Thakur

    Research output: Book/ReportBook


    Map lines delineating statehood can become blurred by bloodlines of nationhood. Inter-ethnic conflict and genocide have demonstrated the dangers of failing to protect people targeted by fellow citizens. When minority groups in one country are targeted for killings or ethnic cleansing based on their group identity, whose responsibility is it to protect them? In particular, are they owed any protective responsibility by their kin state? How can cross-border kinship ties strengthen greater pan-national identity across borders without challenging territorially defined national security? As shown by the Russia–Georgia conflict over South Ossetia, unilateral intervention by a kin state can lead to conflict within and between states. The world cannot stand by when minority rights are being trampled, but the protection of national minorities should not be used as an excuse to violate state sovereignty and generate inter-state conflict. This book suggests that a sensible answer to the kin state dilemma might come from the formula “neither intervention nor indifference” that recognizes the special bonds but proscribes armed intervention based on the ties of kinship.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationTokyo Japan
    PublisherUnited Nations University Press
    Number of pages258
    ISBN (Print)9789280811964
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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