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Dijk, J.N. van

Auteur: Jurjen van Dijk
Afstudeerjaar: 2011
Vakgroep: Ethiek
Title: On Intervention in a Sovereign State, An Ethical Assessment of the Responsibility to Protect
The Westphalian concept of state sovereignty is in serious decay. In our globalizing world many actors criticize a state if it violates human rights. Such an accusation seems empty rhetoric because a government is sovereign in its territory and an intervention would violate this sovereign right. This has resulted in a debate on whether the existing principle of state sovereignty should be changed. In 2001 a promising approach came to light with the publication of the report The Responsibility to Protect, written by the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS). The ICISS interpreted state sovereignty as a ‘Responsibility to Protect’ (R2P). This means that if a government fails to protect its citizens it will lose its sovereign rights, giving other states the possibility to intervene and protect these citizens.    

In my thesis I assess whether a change of the sovereign rights of the state can be justified. I thereby focus on liberal ethics and Christian ethics, because these paradigms are central to the original and current discourse of human rights and sovereignty. I try to find out to what extent states are obliged to protect their citizens, and whether a violation of this obligation might pave the way for intervention. In short, this thesis shows that the R2P principle can be defended on grounds of liberal and Christian ethics. Liberal ethics on the one hand claim that individuals and states have a responsibility to help people in need. Christian ethics on the other hand has much more to say about the criteria that have to be met before an intervention can be called just. Both perspectives can be used to justify a change of the non-intervention principle to achieve more justice. It can therefore be stated that the Responsibility to Protect is the way forward
Laatst gewijzigd:01 november 2013 14:11