TIC Focus l

R2P: Humanitarian intervention is often considered as controversial and against the tenants of UN Charter and other international conventions. This phenomenon is considered offensive by the states but is increasingly becoming popular among international public[1]. The concept of sovereignty is increasingly being linked with the people who are the basic units of a state. The shift from humanitarian intervention to that of the responsibility to protect is one of chance in the locus of attention from those carrying out these acts to those for whom it is being undertaken[2].

The concept of humanitarian intervention gained traction after the rise of the idea that crimes which are against humanity must be backed up with humanitarian intervention which gave rise to responsibility to protect. However, those who oppose it claim that the this kind of responsibility only increase the sufferings of people and lead to more crimes against humanity[3]. They also claim that humanitarian intervention and responsibility to protect leads is another form of colonialism. What’s interesting is that the replacement R2P is more intrusive due to the conditionality placed on sovereignty[4]. The only impact R2P had on humanitarian intervention was to reverse the focus of attention, emphasize a pre-conflict prevention and add a post-conflict rebuilding, all of which were an inherent part of humanitarian intervention, although they were not necessarily at the forefront of that debate. In this view, R2P is simply humanitarian intervention repackaged[5].  Hence it can be stated that the concept of R2P is no more than a violation of sovereignty which is against the core principles of UN Charter[6].

[1] “World fears for plight of Myanmar cyclone victims”, New York Times, 13 May 2008. In Bellamy “The Responsibility to Protect and the problem of military intervention,” 617

[2] International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, The responsibility to protect (Ottawa: International Development Research Centre, 2001), 17and 11.

[3] Francis M. Deng, “Divided nations: the paradox of national protection,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 603, ( 2006): 218 Roberta Cohen and Francis M. Deng, Masses in flight: the global crisis of internal displacement (Washington DC: Brookings Institution, 1998), 275

[4] Roberta Cohen, “The guiding principles on internal displacement: an innovation in international standard setting,” Global Governance 10, no.3, (2004): 459–80; in Alex J. Bellamy “The Responsibility to Protect and the problem of military intervention,” 619

[5] Bellamy, “The Responsibility to Protect and the Problem of Military Intervention,” International Affairs 84 n.4 (2008): 622

[6]Ekkehard Strauss, “A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush – On the Assumed Legal Nature of the Responsibility to Protect,” Global Responsibility to Protect no.1 (2009): 291-323, cited in JuttaBrunnée and Stephen J. Toope, “The Responsibility to Protect and the Use of Force: Building Legality?” Global Responsibility to Protect 2, no.3 (2010): 206


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