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Humanitarian Intervention Is It Needed

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Humanitarian Intervention Is It Needed

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  • October 2010
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A reality for many countries is that intervention can be perplexing and taking accountability for the protection of humanity can mean that ‘the issue must be reframed not as an argument about the right to intervene but about the responsibility to protect’ (Evans and Sahnoun, 2002). ‘There is a duty of mutual aid, and the fact that one cannot do everything does not mean that one should do nothing’ (Smith, 2000). With this being said, the act of forcible intervention is debatable, how does this type of act justify advocating the concern for civilians in other countries? Shouldn’t the countries involved be acting in their own defence? The forcible manner that is imposed on these countries could be damaging and perhaps risking the role of future interventions. The responsibility of the intervening country during a time of imminent threat needs to be examined.

To suggest that humanitarian intervention is black and white would be imposing a view that is simply not true, nor would it be providing a clear equation of the movement itself. A non biased definition of intervention is regarded, ‘a coercive action by an outside party or parties, in the sphere of jurisdiction of a sovereign state, or more broadly of an independent political community’ (Caney, 1997). ‘The responsibility to protect implies a duty to react to situations in which there is compelling need for human protection’, (Evans and Sahnoun, 2002), meaning that we must protect human life and support human rights, perhaps even when there is significant risk for those involved.

International humanitarian law (IHL) essentially promotes peace and justice and protects citizens amongst international communities from human rights violations. Having an IHL sets a standard of rules and helps to prevent international bullying, a trigger for many interventions. These laws help countries promote their national interests, which often assist in the participation of legal institutions and treaties and sets order and...