Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 15, 2018

Human Rights

Kenneth Keulman
Pages 41-47

Human Rights and Humanitarian Intervention

Humanitarian agencies have confronted one disaster after another over the last twenty-five years. Decades of intense growth in reacting to complex global calamities have seriously affected humanitarian efforts. Contending organizations – NGOs, states – engage in transnational interventions. From regions of natural disaster to sectors marked by political clashes, a new rationale for intervention has appeared which merges humanitarian assistance and military engagement. Humanitarian intervention sanctions the notion that military power is a necessary part of the responsibility to protect. The imperative to safeguard lives in jeopardy results in a form of humanitarian and military government in constant motion from one disaster to the next. Under the mandate of the right to intervene, this tactic confronts state sovereignty, particularly since humanitarian organizations engage in political activities such as establishing respect for human rights. The relation between military and humanitarian intervention in the context of disaster, is founded on a calculus of security, based in the legitimacy of measures meant to safeguard human life. A new form of humanitarian governance is thus emerging from military occupations and natural disasters. This paper will examine the human rights consequences of these states of disaster and the novel form of government associated with them.