Humanitarian Intervention

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Humanitarian intervention is use of force or other sanctions by one state or group of states against another to prevent or stop the denial of the basic human rights of that states citizens. There is no actual definition of humanitarian intervention, only a basic notion of what it entails and the outstanding question of whether the human rights violations in a sovereign state are reason enough for others to intervene. In past wars the majority of casualties were the combatants, but today’s wars have larger civilian casualty numbers. With aggressive pursuit of stories by the media and fast exchange of information in todays age, armed action against a states own citizens do not remain secret for long. For these reasons, in 2005 U.N. members adopted the concept of responsibility to protect. It is a concept that all countries have the responsibility to protect their own citizens and that intervention by the international community would result if they do not. Humanitarian intervention dates back at least as far as the Russian, British and French Anti-Ottoman intervention in the Greek War of Independence (Humanitarian Intervention). Since early use of the humanitarian intervention as justification to intervene against a sovereign state, the question has remained if it is legal or just, if anyone has the right to interfere against a sovereign state. While many argue there is no foundation in international law to support responsibility to protect (Humanitarian Intervention in Libya), depending on the circumstances, the human rights violations of civilians may be enough for others to intervene. Intervention does not have to take the form of armed intervention, though it usually does. It can take the form of any type ... ... middle of paper ... ...gnty was convened in order to determine the legitimacy of acting across national borders to stop grave human-rights violations. The UN General Assembly declared in 2005 that "each individual state has the responsibility to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity," and that should any state fail to meet this responsibility, the international community has the right and obligation to act in its stead--by peaceful means if possible, and if necessary by armed force. Political realists may argue that a state should be self determining, but in the case of human rights, it is not only just for one state or states to act against a sovereign state in the name of humanitarian intervention; it is the international communities legal, ethical and moral obligation to act and protect those who are in need of protection.

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