This chapter examines contemporary critiques of human rights, focusing on the downside of human rights claims — what is commonly understood by advocates of human rights to be the ‘misuse’ or ‘abuse’ of human rights. It first considers how human rights claims conflate ethical and legal claims because the subject of rights is not a socially constituted legal subject. It then discusses the rise of human rights as well as the relationship between human rights claims and international interventions such as humanitarianism, international law, and military intervention. In particular, it analyses the ethical, legal, and political questions raised by the Kosovo war. The chapter shows that there is a paradox at the heart of the human rights discourse, which enables claims made on behalf of victims, the marginalized, and excluded to become a mechanism for the creation of new frameworks for the exercise of power.
7. Contemporary Critiques of Human Rights
Alan J. Kuperman
This chapter highlights the distinction between human rights and humanitarianism. Humanitarian intervention refers to the use of diplomatic, economic, and/or military resources by states or international organizations to protect civilians who are endangered in another state. The chapter notes the impossibility of attaining impartiality and neutrality when commencing humanitarian work during a civil war. Modern intervention often confronts human rights violations by naming, shaming, and coercing those who harm civilians. The chapter then recognizes the obstacles to effective and timely intervention such as political will and large-scale violence against civilians. It covers the case of Kosovo that showed how the international community should utilize its leverage to persuade oppressive states to meet the legitimate demands of nonviolent groups in an effort to simultaneously promote human rights and humanitarianism.
16. Humanitarian Intervention and Political Self-Determination
William Abel, Elizabeth Kahn, Tom Parr, and Andrew Walton
This chapter argues that there is a just cause to intervene militarily in a state that systematically violates the human rights of its members. It rejects the views of those who contend that there is no justification for humanitarian intervention because there are no universal moral values. The chapter accepts that the value of political self-determination can explain what is wrong with humanitarian intervention in some cases. However, appeals to this value are decisive less often than many critics of intervention suppose. One concern with adopting a permissive attitude towards humanitarian intervention is that this might be open to misuse. The chapter then articulates a role for international law in authorizing intervention to minimize this risk. It concludes by clarifying how these arguments fit within a wider set of considerations pertinent to the justifiability of humanitarian intervention.
33. Humanitarian intervention in world politics
Alex J. Bellamy and Nicholas J. Wheeler
This chapter examines the role of humanitarian intervention in world politics. It considers how we should resolve tensions when valued principles such as order, sovereignty, and self-determination come into conflict with human rights; and how international thought and practice has evolved with respect to humanitarian intervention. The chapter discusses the case for and against humanitarian intervention and looks at humanitarian activism during the 1990s. It also analyses the responsibility to protect principle and the use of force to achieve its protection goals in Libya in 2011. Two case studies are presented in this chapter. The first one looks at Myanmar and barriers to intervention. The second one centres on the role of Middle Eastern governments in Operation Unified Protector which took place in 2011 in Libya.
32. Humanitarian intervention in world politics
Alex J. Bellamy and Nicholas J. Wheeler
This chapter examines the role of humanitarian intervention in world politics. It considers how we should resolve tensions when valued principles such as order, sovereignty, and self-determination come into conflict with human rights; and how international thought and practice has evolved with respect to humanitarian intervention. The chapter discusses the case for and against humanitarian intervention and looks at humanitarian activism during the 1990s. It also analyses the responsibility to protect principle and the use of force to achieve its protection goals in Libya in 2011. Two case studies are presented, one dealing with humanitarian intervention in Darfur and the other with the role of Middle Eastern governments in Operation Unified Protector in Libya in 2011. There is also an Opposing Opinions box that asks whether the West should intervene in Syria to protect people there from the Islamic State (ISIS).
21. Humanitarian Intervention
Alan J. Kuperman
This chapter examines humanitarian intervention and its relationship to the promotion of human rights. It first traces the evolution of humanitarian intervention, especially in the wake of the Second World War and the Cold War, to include military force and the violation of traditional norms of neutrality and state sovereignty. It then describes some obstacles to effective intervention, including the speed of violence, logistical hurdles to military deployment, and lack of political will. It also discusses unintended consequences, such as how the ‘moral hazard’ of humanitarian intervention may inadvertently trigger and perpetuate civil conflict, thus exacerbating civilian suffering. Many of these concepts are illustrated with a detailed case study of humanitarian intervention in Bosnia from 1992 to 1995 by the United States, European Community, United Nations, and NATO. The chapter concludes with recommendations to improve humanitarian intervention and to reconcile it with the promotion of human rights.
6. Security and Insecurity
This chapter assesses the general concept of security and the way in which issues come to be ‘securitized’. The security of the sovereign state, in a system of states, and existing under conditions of anarchy, has been the traditional focus of studies in global or international politics. Security in this context has therefore been concerned largely with the threats that states pose to each other. Over the last few decades, however, the agenda for security in global politics has expanded, and so too has its conceptualization. The chapter looks at traditional approaches to security and insecurity, revisiting the Hobbesian state of nature and tracing security thinking in global politics through to the end of the Cold War. This is followed by a discussion of ideas about collective security as embodied in the UN, paying particular attention to the role of the Security Council and the issue of intervention in the post-Cold War period. This period has also seen the broadening of the security agenda to encompass concerns such as gender security, environmental security, cyber security, and the diffuse concept of ‘human security’. Finally, the chapter provides an overview of the ‘war on terror’, raising further questions concerning how best to deal with non-conventional security threats.
15. Canada and antipersonnel landmines
The case for human security as a foreign policy priority
This chapter examines the impact of the Ottawa Process on the use of antipersonnel landmines as well as its significance to foreign policy analysis. The Ottawa Process led to the signing of an international treaty to ban the use and trading of landmines in 1997. It also contributed to the concept of human security and the emerging global principle of responsibility to protect. The chapter first considers the dynamic between governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) leading up to the launch of the Ottawa Process before discussing how middle power countries worked with NGOs and used soft power diplomacy to achieve a ban on landmines. It also explores the utility of the Ottawa Process as a model for recent international efforts, including the Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, the establishment of the International Criminal Court, and the treaties on cluster munitions and the trade in small arms.
2. Ideas about environmental protection
This chapter explores the ideas and debates which shape global environmental politics. At least three types of socially constructed ideas play a key role in international environmental governance: world views, causal beliefs, and social norms. However, ideas are not universally shared, which means that ideological clashes are a feature of global environmental governance. The chapter looks at five of the major ideological debates that have marked the evolution of global environmental governance. The first two debates present conflicting world views: the first concerns the scope of environmental values, while the second examines the intrinsic values of non-human organisms. The following two debates concern causal beliefs: one is about the relationship between human intervention and environmental protection, while the other concerns the relationship between economic growth and environmental degradation. The last debate considers different social norms related to environmental justice and the appropriate behaviours expected towards historically marginalized populations.