Human security and the dilemma of intervention

McClean, E. 2008. Human security and the dilemma of intervention. Emerging Human Rights in the 21st Century: Sixty years after the UDHR. University of Aberstwyth 10 Dec 2008

TitleHuman security and the dilemma of intervention
AuthorsMcClean, E.
TypeConference paper
Abstract

‘Never again’ was the refrain that ensured the inclusion of human rights provisions in the UN Charter at San Francisco in 1945. A mere three years later the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was passed by the General Assembly, inspired by ‘opposition to the barbarous doctrines of Nazism and fascism’ and which consolidated the Charter pledge, found in Article 55, to promote 'universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all'. While the UN Charter and the UDHR bring human rights unequivocally into the purview of legitimate international concern, the refrain of 'never again' still reverberates on the 60th anniversary of the UDHR. The Rwandan genocide and the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo in the 1990s and Darfur and the DRC today bring into sharp relief the ‘dilemma of intervention’, characterised by the UN Secretary-General as a choice between 'the defence of sovereignty' and 'the defence of humanity'. This chapter explores the impact of the UDHR and other human rights standard-setting activities on the contours of the intervention debate, especially as regards the development of an expanded notion of ‘threat to the peace’ and the recent emergence of the doctrine of the responsibility to protect. In particular the chapter analyses the practice of the UN Security Council in relation to human rights issues in order to assess the prospects of the UN in preventing ‘future Rwandas and Kosovos'

KeywordsIntervention, human rights
Year2008
ConferenceEmerging Human Rights in the 21st Century: Sixty years after the UDHR
Publication dates
Completed2008

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