In the wake of crises in the 1990s in Bosnia, Somalia, Rwanda and Kosovo, policy makers, decision makers, academics, NGOs and church leaders have intensely debated and grappled with the ethical, moral and legal implications of humanitarian intervention.
The debate has often revolved around two competing imperatives:
- the sovereignty that protects states from external intervention in their internal affairs;
- the humanitarian imperative to protect those who endure incredible abuses of human rights, especially in the context of states that either commit these abuses against their own citizens or are unable to protect their citizens from them.
In 2000, Project Ploughshares commissioned a paper to review the literature on humanitarian intervention.
In December 2001, the International Commission on State Sovereignty and Intervention (ICISS) released its report on humanitarian intervention entitled, The Responsibility to Protect.
- The report was initiated and funded by the Canadian government, and as its title suggests, this report offers a new lens through which to view the moral, legal and political questions surrounding intervention, and reframes the debate from “sovereignty as control” over a population to “sovereignty as responsibility.”
In the last several years, Project Ploughshares has organized roundtables and events in Canada and in Africa to explore issues in the Responsibility to Protect document and theme.
Publications on Responsibility to Protect
Regime change through force? The temptation to prosecute an all-out war between the Sudans should be resisted on all sidesJuly 9, 2012
Author John Siebert The Ploughshares Monitor Summer 2012 Volume 33 Issue 2 The secession of the Republic of South Sudan from the Republic of Sudan in July 2011 did not resolve the complex issues left over from the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) process that took effect in 2005. The past year has brought intensifying military confrontations in disputed border areas, ...
Familiar Opening Scenes: Libya is rid of Gadhafi, but will Canadian Forces soon be bogged down in another Afghanistan?October 5, 2011
Author John Siebert The Ploughshares Monitor Autumn 2011 Volume 32 Issue 3 It may be churlish to begrudge Prime Minister Harper some self-congratulatory hyperbole for the Canadian military’s contribution to the civil war in Libya. On August 21, the rebel forces, supported by NATO airstrikes since March, swept the capital of Tripoli. Moammar Gadhafi and his regime were no longer ...
Target Libya: Can air strikes protect civilians?July 5, 2011
Author John Siebert The Ploughshares Monitor Summer 2011 Volume 32 Issue 2 In the space of a few short weeks in February and March 2011 the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) took the leap from diplomatic and economic preventive measures to sanctioning military intervention in Libya based on Responsibility to Protect (R2P) principles. Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from U.S. and ...