Sovereignty

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International Relations Essay- Humanitarian Intervention.

This essay will examine S Neil Macfarlane et al’s article entitled “The Responsibility to Protect: is anyone interested in humanitarian intervention?” The essay will specifically answer if the Mcfarlane essay supports the case that humanitarian intervention is indeed an unaccepted assault on sovereignty. In answering such a question one must first consider each part of the question as a separate clause. Once they are distinguished and defined the link between each of them will be identified. The relationship between the two is also closely linked to International relations and each of them are experienced in different aspects all over the world as well as in different organisations. This essay will examine the arguments in relation to Humanitarian intervention by different organisations and ideologies. These arguments are listed in the Macfarlane et al essay and throughout their discussion of the arguments it can be deciphered whether or not they support the idea that Humanitarian intervention is an assault on sovereignty. This shall also be assessed through the examination of the ideas and references that are noted in the essay. The connection between humanitarian intervention and sovereignty is closely linked to the unfortunate events of September eleventh 2001; this is also examined throughout Macfarlane’s article. It regards the responsibility to protect after the incident and also the war against Iraq. (S Macfarlane, 2004, p. 978) Humanitarian Intervention is the states use of military force against another state when the chief publicly declared aim of that military action is ending human rights violations being perpetrated by the state which it is directed. Armed humanitarian intervention or the use of military force to protect the fundamental rights of another citizen has become increasingly prominent in debates about the role of ethics in international affairs. Sovereignty is the concept of supreme power or authority. In the ethical debates regarding humanitarian intervention the ethical objections focus on two objections in particular, these objections which are- the violation of national sovereignty and the use of armed force with the concomitant loss of life and human suffering entailed. (Atack, 2002, p. 1). It was the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan who issued the question that is at challenge in this essay- whether or not humanitarian intervention is an unacceptable assault on Sovereignty. He also asked how we should respond to Rwanda and Srebrenica- to gross and systematic violations of human rights that offend every concept of our common humanity. The Canadian Government then created the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS). The commission’s report argued that the relationship between sovereignty and humanitarian intervention was complimentary rather that contradictory. They stated that sovereignty was conceived as a conditional right dependent upon respect for a minimum standard of human rights and upon each state’s honouring its obligation to protect its citizens. They continued to argue that if the states were not able or willing to protect them then the responsibility would then be have to be borne by the international community of states. In the opening lines of the ICISS report which was building on the early work of Francis M Deng, the report states- “states sovereignty implies responsibility, and the primary responsibility for the protection of its people lies with the state itself. Where a population is suffering serious harm, as a result of internal war, insurgency, repression or state failure, and the state in question in unwilling or unable to halt or avert it, the principle of non-intervention yields to the international responsibility to protect.” (S Macfarlane, 2004, p. 978) The prime goal of intervention which has been undertaken with increasing frequency the past decade is to protect the...
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