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Center of Excellence ISSUES IN SOVEREIGNTY Center of Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance.

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Presentation on theme: "Center of Excellence ISSUES IN SOVEREIGNTY Center of Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance."— Presentation transcript:

1 Center of Excellence ISSUES IN SOVEREIGNTY Center of Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance


3 3 The debate is central to the development of more effective humanitarian action by the international community –the traditional notion of neutrality of humanitarian action is at risk –there has been a patchy response to humanitarian crises, due to the moral and legal vacuum of intra- state conflict –the scope, scale and complexity of the task have increased –provide space for humanitarian action that is impermeable to political demands

4 4 ISSUES Need for timely intervention State nominally in charge unable or unwilling to act Intervention without authority Precedents for future interventions New intervention model needed

5 5 The debate should lead to significant improvements in the: –legal framework for intervention –the operational environment –the political context

6 6 The Concept of Sovereignty According to author Alan James, is: X Notoriously elusive X Imbued with splendid rhetorical resonance X Encourages effect rather than clarity

7 Center of Excellence SOVEREIGNTY HAS NO DEFINITION IN LAW The prohibition of intervention is inherent, but not explicit in the UN Charter

8 8 SOVEREIGNTY IS BASED ON SEVERAL CONSTRUCTS Charter Legal and Other Interpretations Usage or Common Law

9 9 Preamble “we the peoples of the United Nations” –to reaffirm the faith in fundamental human rights –to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained –to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest The United Nations Charter

10 10 The United Nations Charter Article 1(1) bring about… in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which may lead to a breach of the peace Article 1 (2) respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples Article 1 (3) achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural or humanitarian character and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights

11 11 Article 2 (1) -the organization is based on the sovereign equality of all its members Article 2 (2) -all members ….shall fulfil in good faith the obligations assumed by them Article 2 (4) -all members shall refrain … from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state The United Nations Charter

12 12 The United Nations Charter Article 2 (7) -nothing … shall authorize the UN to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement Article 2 (7) -but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter VII

13 13 A Shift in Perception has been Underway “It is now increasingly felt that the principle of non-interference with the essential domestic jurisdiction of States cannot be regarded as a protective barrier behind which human rights could be massively or systematically violated with impunity” Secretary-General Perez de Cellar - 1991

14 14 Immediate Post Gulf War Thoughts The ‘91 UN debate “there exists a duty of democratic intervention” (Luxembourg) “intervention that is primarily aimed at securing protection of human rights and respect for the basic principles of peaceful coexistence is a prerogative of the international community” (Italy) “violations of human rights and the rights of minorities could not be considered the exclusive internal affairs of a country” (Hungary) “the principle of non-interference could not be regarded as a protective barrier behind which human rights could be violated with impunity” (Chile) “states are liable internationally for their national policy on human rights” (Belgium)

15 15 “Sovereignty is a social construct and as social and cultural circumstances shift, so too does the definition of sovereignty” Enzo Bollettino

16 16 Three Aspects of Sovereignty Jurisdictional Sovereignty –the state’s legal freedom within its territorial domain Political Sovereignty –freedom to pursue courses of action, both internally and in relation to other states International Sovereignty –status as an independent player in international relations

17 17 Politics of Sovereignty Sovereignty is not a concern for strong states –1992 -”Respect for principles of national sovereignty and non-interference” Sovereignty is a concern for weak states –weak states accept limitations to jurisdictional sovereignty - IMF, World Bank –emplacement of military bases –constraints during cold war –worry about a powerful authoritarian directorate in UN

18 18 Sovereignty is Continually Abridged Laws of War International Covenants ICAO / IAEA / WHO / IMF Immunity for Diplomats GATT Universal Postal Union North America Free Trade Agreement

19 19 SOVEREIGNTY "The Charter protects the sovereignty of peoples. It was never meant as a license for governments to trample o n human rights and human dignity. Sovereignty implies responsibility, not just power” Kofi Annan - 26 June 1998

20 20 Annan - 18 September 99

21 21 Basis for Humanitarian Intervention ?

22 22 Human Rights is one of the reasons for intervention International Humanitarian Law, which seeks to protect non-combatants in a conflict is equally applicable. The state threatens the civilian population Refugees are forced from the country Massive forced internal displacement Use of starvation as a weapon Denial of essential support of medical and other state amenities Basis for Humanitarian Intervention

23 23 National Interests are being Confused with Sovereignty The greatest concern of nations regarding intervention is who decides the intervention This is a political process Security Council - What nations bring to the table National interests may not coincide

24 Members Bring To The Table National Interest –International –Neighbors Parties to the Conflict - Interests Humanitarian Considerations –Relief / Protection / Reconstruction / Development Human Rights Considerations Media Perceptions The Costs of Intervention

25 25 Future of Sovereignty Issues The evolution will continue Alternatives will be found Chapter VII will remain the primary tool for intervention

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