International Norms Such as the R2P (Right to Protect) Conflict with the Cultural Claims of Individual States in Matters of Human Rights?
The objective of this study is to answer as to whether international norms such as the R2P conflict with the cultural claims of individual states in matters of human rights.
It is reported that there has been a failure of the world in protecting victims of "mass atrocities" and that the emerging norm is "to spell out what the states, and the international community, should and must do to prevent that from happening again." (Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, nd) The United Nations along with other international institutions were established for the primary purpose of preventing or adjudicating conflicts that occur between states. (Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, nd, paraphrased)
Failure to Act
In the 1990s when the violence occur inside the borders of Somalia, Rwanda, and Bosnia it is reported that the world was not prepared to act and as a result was "paralyzed by disagreements over the limits of sovereignty." (Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, nd) In addition, the Security Council's failure to authorize action that would end ethnic cleansing in Kosovo resulted in NATO being provoked "to initiate an aerial bombardment on its own. This deeply divided the international community, pitting those who denounced the intervention as illegal against others who argued that legality mattered less than the moral imperative to save lives. This deadlock implied a pair of unpalatable choices: either states would stand by passively and let mass killing happen in order to preserve the strict letter of international law, or they would circumvent the UN Charter and carry out an act of war on their own." (Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, nd) Evans and Sahnoun (2002) report that the international community has "repeatedly made a mess of handling the many demands that were made for 'humanitarian intervention: coercive action against a state to protect people within its borders from suffering grave harm." (Evans and Sahnoun, 2002)
II. The Societal Norm
Bellamy and Wheeler (nd) write that the societal norm has been generally understood to be that of "non-intervention." The use of force is forbidden in international law except when that force is for the purpose of self-defense and is a "collective enforcement action authorized by the UN Security Council (UNSC)." It is reported that the humanitarian intervention faces the challenge of whether its action should be "exempted from the general ban on the use of force." (Bellamy and Wheeler, nd)
III. Humanitarian Intervention
Humanitarian intervention is reported to present a hard test for "international society built on principles of sovereignty, non-intervention, and the non-use of force." (Bellamy and Wheeler, nd) Bellamy and Wheeler report that during the cold war that armed humanitarian intervention was not a "legitimate practice…because states placed more value on sovereignty and order than on the enforcement of human rights." However, there was a notable change in attitudes in the decade of the 199's and this is stated to be particularly true among "liberal democratic states, which led the way in pressing new humanitarian claims within international society." (Bellamy and Wheeler, nd)
IV. UN General Assembly Adoption of R2P in 2005
It is reported that the UN General Assembly adopted the responsibility to protect "in a formal declaration at the 2005 UN World Summit." (Bellamy and Wheeler, nd) Those who supported the responsibility to protect hold that it will "play an important role in building consensus about humanitarian action whilst making it harder for states to abuse humanitarian justifications." (Bellamy and Wheeler, nd) The legal argument for responsibility to protect is stated as follows:
"The counter-restrictionist? case for a legal right of individual and collective humanitarian intervention rests on two claims: first, the UN Charter commits states to protecting fundamental human rights, and second, there is a right of humanitarian intervention in customary international law." (Bellamy and Wheeler, nd)
V. Legal Basis for Intervention
It is argued by counter-restrictionists that human rights are of the same importance as are peace and security within the framework of the UN Charter since "The Charter's preamble and Articles 1(3), 55 and 56 all highlight the importance of human rights. Indeed, Article 1(3) identifies the protection of human rights as one of the principle purposes of the UN system. This has led counter-restrictionists to read a humanitarian exception to the ban on the use of force in the UN Charter. Michael Reisman (1985: 279-80) argued that given the human rights principles in the Charter, the UNSC should have taken armed action during the cold war against states that committed genocide and mass murder." (Bellamy and Wheeler, nd) It is stated that the UNSC's ongoing failure in meeting this legal responsibility resulted in the assertion that a "legal exception to the ban on the use of force in Article 2(4) of the Charter, should be created that would permit individual states to use force on humanitarian grounds." (Bellamy and Wheeler, nd) It is stated by others that no legal basis for unilateral humanitarian intervention exists in the UN Charter and it is argued that humanitarian intervention "is permitted by customary international law." (Bellamy and Wheeler, nd) For a rule to count as customary international law, it is required that states must "actively engage in the practice that it is claimed to have the status of law, and they must do so because they believe the law permits this." (Bellamy and Wheeler, nd)
VI. Moral Basis for Intervention
Morally speaking, it is the opinion of many writers that no matter what is stated in the law that a duty exists that is moral in nature and holds that "there is a moral duty to intervene to protect civilians from genocide and mass killing." (Bellamy and Wheeler, nd) The argument holds that the sovereignty derives from a state's responsibility to protect its citizens and when a state fails in its duty, it loses its sovereign rights." (Bellamy and Wheeler, nd) This argument is upheld in several ways including those stating:
(1) Some point to the idea of common humanity to argue that all individuals have basic human rights and duties to uphold the rights of others (Caney 1997: 34 in: Bellamy and Wheeler, nd).
(2) Others argue that today's globalized world is so integrated that massive human rights violations in one part of the world have an effect on every other part, creating moral obligations (Blair 1999 in Bellamy and Wheeler, nd).
(3) Some advocates of Just War theory argue that the duty to offer charity to those in need is universal (Ramsey 2002: 35-6 in: Bellamy and Wheeler, nd).
(4) A further variety of this argument insists that there is moral agreement between the world's major religions and ethical systems that genocide and mass killing are grave wrongs and that others have a duty to prevent them and punish the perpetrators (Lepard, 2002in: Bellamy and Wheeler. nd)
VII. Other Reasons for Intervention
There are other reasons for intervention by states other than for the purposes that are centered on humanitarian aid and it is stated in the work of Bellamy and Wheeler that states "…almost always have mixed motives for intervening and are rarely prepared to sacrifice their own soldiers overseas unless they have self-interested reasons for doing so." (Bellamy and Wheeler, nd) The view of Realists in this case holds that humanitarian intervention of a genuine nature is "imprudent because it does not serve the national interest." (Bellamy and Wheeler, nd) Critics holds that it idealizes that the intervention of those in power is only in the event that they desire to do so and that strategic interventions follow national interest rather than what would be best for the victim. It is held that there is not moral right of political leaders to make decisions for bloodshed of their citizens for the protection of foreigner. It is held that "citizens are the exclusive responsibility of their state, and their state is entirely their own business?. (Bhikhu Parekum, 1997;56 in: Bellamy and Wheeler, nd) Therefore, in the case of the civil authority acting in an appalling manner towards citizens of the state that the responsibility lies with the citizens of the state and most critically that state's political leaders. (Bellamy and Wheeler, nd, paraphrased) The work of Guraziu (2008) asks whether humanitarian military intervention in the affairs of another state ever justified and states "Michael Walzer argues that the duty of humanitarian intervention is justified 'when it is a response & #8230; 'to acts that shock the moral conscience of mankind." However, 'The general problem' writes Michael Walzer, 'is that intervention, even when it is justified, even when it is necessary to prevent terrible crimes (…) is (…) a duty that doesn't belong to any particular agent & #8230;" (Guraziu, 2008) Therein, lies the most pertinent of all problems when debating intervention in the occurrences of other states by uninvolved other states is the question…