Essay topic – “In 1999 the then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan asked, ‘…if humanitarian intervention is, indeed, an unacceptable assault on sovereignty, how should we respond to a Rwanda, to a Srebrenica – to gross and systematic violations of human rights that affect every precept of our common humanity?’. Reflecting on the controversies and questions raised during the lectures and your own reading, address Annan’s question.
You may choose to answer his question in any way you choose but be sure to demonstrate your capacity to analyse – this should not be a descriptive account of various perspectives on this issue.
Below are some issues which you may wish to explore but you are not bound by these and you do not have to answer each or any of these questions;
• Is humanitarian intervention a moral imperative?
• Is prioritising the national interest over “saving strangers” actually a moral imperative?
• Has there ever been a truly humanitarian intervention? If so, when? If not, why?
• What theoretical perspective on humanitarian intervention is most convincing?
• What do the various religions say about this issue?
• Who should intervene? States, the UN…a UN army?
• Should “we” tell “others” how to run their state?
• Is international law on humanitarian intervention out-dated?
• Is humanitarian intervention really only an option open to the most powerful states?
• Should morality play a role in international relations?
• Are humanitarian crises a threat to international peace and stability in the new globalized world order?
• Should sovereignty mean complete inviolability?
• What legal reforms are required to facilitate a more consistent response to intra-state crises?
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