It is increasingly well understood that concepts of ‘humanitarian intervention’ and the ‘responsibility to protect’ enjoy a long and rich history. Nevertheless, it is surprising how plainly the arguments offered by states seeking to justify intervention in Libya in 2011 echo those used by theologians, jurists, and philosophers to justify intervention in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. Those advocating intervention in Libya drew not just on the language of ‘human rights,’ that emerged relatively recently, but on a wider and much older range of idioms and ideas to make their case. In this article, I identify three key arguments that were employed by states in support of the intervention and I demonstrate their parallels with three principal arguments that have been advanced to justify intervention in response to tyranny since the sixteenth century. The three arguments are: the need to protect ‘innocents’; the need to hold ‘tyrants’ to account; and the need to defend the will of a sovereign people. After exploring each argument, I conclude by noting that the claim often heard today, that intervention is under certain circumstances a responsibility rather than merely a right, also has deep roots in early modern thought.
This introduction to the special issue on Children and r2p lays out the parallel development of the r2p and Children and Armed Conflict agendas over the last two decades and surveys how key r2p documents developed during this period have engaged with issues of child protection. It then outlines the articles that follow.
Sara E. Davies and Luke Glanville
Luke Glanville and Sara E. Davies
Deepening the Responsibility to Protect
The Responsibility to Protect and International Law focuses on questions relating to R2P’s legal quality, its relationship with sovereignty, and the question of whether the norm establishes legal obligations. It also aims to introduce readers to different legal perspectives, including feminism, and pressing practical questions such as how the law might be used to prevent genocide and mass atrocities, and punish the perpetrators.
Global Responsibility to Protect promotes a universal understanding of R2P and efforts to realize it, through encouraging critical debate and diversity of opinion, and to acquaint a broad readership of scholars, practitioners, students and analysts with the principle and its operationalization.
Global Responsibility to Protect seeks insights and approaches from every region of the world that might contribute to understanding, operationalizing and applying R2P in practice.
Online submission: Articles for publication in Global Responsibility to Protect can be submitted online through Editorial Manager, please click here.
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