Fulfilling the responsibility to protect

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Abstract

In this paper I argue that the present global institutional structure—founded and upheld by the international community—systematically violates human rights. In recent years the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine has emerged as a justification for the resolution of humanitarian crises. R2P is an approach to humanitarian crises that emphasizes the responsibilities that powerful international actors have to protect human rights. In this paper I seek to examine the moral structure of the R2P at the intersection between the literature on R2P, global justice, and global poverty (particularly the work of Thomas Pogge). I introduce and defend a new principle, which extends R2P. My claim, here, is that in order to fulfill (my extended version of) R2P, members of the international community must also—in addition to mitigating cases of humanitarian crises—stop systematically violating human rights themselves. The maintenance of the present global institutional architecture is, I argue, a daily violation of R2P. The connective moral analysis that I will put forward between the global institutional architecture, global poverty and R2P is, I hope, a novel approach. It is also strategic. Whilst the international community has shown willingness to intervene in situations of humanitarian crisis, it has not shown a similar commitment to remedying global poverty. By arguing, as I do in this paper, that alleviating global poverty is in fact a necessary component of fulfilling R2P, I hope to establish a preliminary ground for showing that the moral demands of R2P are much greater than they are presently treated, and that the doctrine includes demands to conduct mass institutional reform towards the actual protection of human rights.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-110
Number of pages17
JournalSt. Antony's International Review
Volume11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015

Keywords

  • responsibility to protect
  • human rights
  • international community
  • thomas pogge
  • ethics
  • philosophy
  • politics

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