The Arc toward Justice and Peace
Mary Ellen O'Connell, The Arc toward Justice and Peace, in Arcs of Global Justice: Essays in Honour of William A. Schabas (D. Amann & M. de Guzman eds. Oxford University Press, 2018), pp. 467-483
18 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2019
Date Written: April 4, 2019
William Schabas, one of the foremost human rights defenders of his generation, courageously declared that peace is a human right during a time when prominent human rights advocates call for the use of military force. The flourishing of human rights requires the condition peace. Thus, human rights law is naturally aligned with the international law restricting resort to force. Both are essential to the flourishing of humanity and the natural world. Those calling for military force to promote human rights likely labor under the false assumption that armed conflict is an effective means for accomplishing a variety of desiderata from humanitarian causes to suppressing terrorism to arms control. Military force is often viewed today as a tool of change, not a method of last resort. In fact, military force takes lives; it destroys homes and the environment; it leaves scars that never heal. One of the most important human rights protections we have is the prohibition on resort to force. Protection human rights, in particular the right to life, is incompatible with advocating greater resort to war. Professor Schabas championed this pairing of rules as this essay in his honor emphasizes. It concludes that for the long arc of history to truly be toward justice, it must also bend toward peace.
Keywords: human rights, peace, international law, prohibition on the use of force, humanitarian intervention
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