From Peaceful Demonstrations to Armed Conflict: Considering Humanitarian Intervention in the Case of Syria
Elayne Hannon and Hannah Russell, From Peaceful Demonstrations to Civil War: Considering Humanitarian Intervention in the Case of Syria (Al-Marsad, 2013)
79 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2013 Last revised: 23 Apr 2013
Date Written: April 1, 2013
The current conflict in Syria has created international discord and divergent views regarding what constitutes the most appropriate response to a humanitarian crisis of this kind. According to the United Nations (UN) over 60,000 Syrians have been killed, more than 733,100 Syrians have registered as refugees or are awaiting registration, over 2 million have become internally displaced and 1 million Syrians are starving as a result of the ongoing conflict. Given the intensity of the Civil War these numbers are rising by the day, further increasing the number of violations of humanitarian and human rights laws which have taken place throughout the conflict as a result of the actions of both State forces and opposition forces. Consequently, these rising figures raise the question of what is the role of the international community when mass human rights abuses, such as those witnessed during this ongoing conflict in Syria, are being committed? It also raises the query of what actions should the international community be adopting to satisfy this role? To date the international community has exerted minimal effort in providing support to the people of Syria. Has the time come, or is it possibly overdue, for this effort to be increased to a level of humanitarian intervention, i.e. proportionate threat or use of military force by international forces?
This research encompasses two parts. Part I outlines the current situation in Syria. It discusses the background to the conflict, the involvement of the international community and regional organizations and the development of the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces. It highlights the violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law committed by both State and opposition forces. It also suggests ways to ensure accountability for the atrocities committed during this conflict. Part II discusses the legality of humanitarian intervention in Syria. It outlines the definition, history and legal status of humanitarian intervention. It considers the reasoning behind arguments in favour and against humanitarian intervention in Syria. Finally, conclusions and recommendations will be made with regard to humanitarian intervention and the conflict in general.
Keywords: Syria, Civil War, peaceful demonstrations, United Nations, humanitarian intervention, Syrian National Council, Golan
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