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Human Rights, Sovereignty and the Responsibility to Protect

24 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2014  

Cristina Lafont

Northwestern University - Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

In 2005 the UN General Assembly unanimously endorsed the doctrine of a Responsibility-to-Protect (R2P) human rights. This initiated a series of debates about whether two fundamental principles of international law, international human rights protections and state sovereignty, could still be thought of as compatible with one another. These debates suggest that the values of human rights and self-determination are on a collision course: if one values the international protection of human rights then one must accept that this may undermine the self-determination and sovereign equality of states, and if one values popular sovereignty and self-determination then one must accept that this may undermine the international protection of human rights. I defend the view that human rights and sovereignty are not antithetical values, but must be seen as mutually reinforcing principles of international law. On this basis I offer an account of the international community’s Responsibility to Protect human rights that is more demanding than the currently acknowledged account. I also show how my more ambitious account does not have to be purchased at the price of undermining the sovereign equality of states.

Suggested Citation

Lafont, Cristina, Human Rights, Sovereignty and the Responsibility to Protect (2014). APSA 2014 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2453409

Cristina Lafont (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences ( email )

Evanston, IL
United States

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