Duties and Rights of Sovereign States:

Topics: Sovereignty, Sovereign state, Nation Pages: 3 (1244 words) Published: October 31, 2007
In his work "The Law of Nations or the Principles of Natural Law" Emer de Vattel uses authoritative appeals which express his views to the reader that in an international society of sovereign states, each state has certain undeniable rights and duties to which they are obligated. He states that in the law of nature men have mutual duties to assist one another. Since men are incapable of providing sufficient for themselves to improve their state of being, they must therefore "work together for the mutual improvement of their condition in life" (Vattel, 100). Nations are bound by the same laws of nature and duties that individuals are bound, however a sovereign nation is only obligated if it has the ability to provide for a nation in need without placing itself in harms way. The basis of Vattel's argument is like the golden rule. "Do unto others as ye would have them do unto you." If nations hope to receive help and strength during their times of need the must also provide that same measure of charity to others when able. Vattel states that "Whatever we owe to ourselves we owe also to others, as far as they are really in need of our help and we can give it to them without neglecting ourselves." It is a matter of our duty to humanity. All nations, if they are to expect aid in their times of need, must give of their support, resources and essentially all they possess. Vattel also argues this point, "Do not raise the objection that a sovereign has not the right to expose the life of his soldiers for the safety of a foreign nation with which he has not contracted a defense alliance. He may happen to have like need of help; and therefore by putting into force the spirit of mutual assistance he is promoting the safety of his own nation." Vattel does not limit the duty that nations owe to one another to only times of war but also times of distress from uncontrollable elements such as famines, pestilences or natural disasters. Nations have the duty to provide necessary...
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