Humanitarian Intervention and the Responsibility to Protect

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    Abstract

    Cross-border military intervention is a recurring feature throughout history. Often, geopolitical and commercial calculations were cloaked in the language of ‘humanitarian intervention.’ After decolonization, developing countries embedded non-intervention as a peremptory norm. Many tyrants then used sovereignty as a shield behind which to commit atrocities with impunity. When the North Atlantic Treaty Organization intervened to protect victims of Serbian atrocities in Kosovo, the Non-Aligned Movement denounced any right of humanitarian intervention. To reconcile the two competing imperatives, the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty proposed the principle of the ‘responsibility to protect’ to permit UN-authorized protective interventions while consolidating a rules-based order. Although much improved, however, dilemmas remain about when and by whom force can be used inside borders to guarantee human protection.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook on the United Nations
    Editors Thomas G. Weiss and Sam Daws
    Place of PublicationOxford, UK
    PublisherOxford University Press
    Pages461-478
    Edition2nd Edition
    ISBN (Print)9780198803164
    Publication statusPublished - 2018

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