Humanitarian Intervention

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The issue of humanitarian intervention has become increasingly prominent in worldwide debates regarding its role in ethics and legitimacy in international relations. Uncertainty arises as to whether there are any moral obligation for humanitarian intervention and the concerning justifications of the violation of state sovereignty. In viewing the matter ethically and applying Immanuel Kant’s principle of cosmopolitan law from his 1795 essay Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Essay, humanitarian intervention can be established as a conflict between a cosmopolitan responsibility, which is to protect and promote human rights because of their universality, and an obligation to respect state sovereignty as a crucial basis for moral and political international order. Inevitably, fulfilling one set of responsibilities can involve the violation of the other in situations for example where governments are actively abusing the fundamental rights of their own citizens. Many Third World leaders, consider the concept of humanitarian intervention to be potentially destabilising for the international system, and view it as an excuse for more powerful nations to undermine and threaten their state sovereignty (Ayoob, 2004; p.99). By using the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) as a reference point, this essay will investigate the relationships between states when dealing with human rights standards and cultural differences. In examining the doctrine of ‘the responsibility to protect’, this essay will justify humanitarian intervention as a moral requirement of international order by focusing on the idea that the broader community of states must assume the responsibility of intervention when individual sovereign states are unw...

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...World suspicions as being the West’s manipulation for power, I have justified the need for intervention through the UN Declaration of Human Rights (1948). the need for an international ‘responsibility to protect’. Through a brief overview of standardised political theory, I justified humanitarian intervention as a moral requirement for humanity. However, although the interest for a state to intervene must be weighed up against the outcomes of the intervention and no personal agendas from outside states can influence such interactions. In concluding the responsibility to protect encompasses the idea that sovereign states have a responsibility to protect their own citizens from avoidable catastrophe, but that when they are unwilling or unable to do so, the broader community of states must assume that responsibility as fellow citizens of the international community.

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